As NASCAR sits idle because of the COVID-19, or coronavirus, pandemic, the NASCAR Research and Development Center is putting its five 3D printers to use, assisting medical professionals with items including plastic protective face shields.
According to NASCAR head of aerodynamics Eric Jacuzzi, 40-50 face shields are being produced daily for Novant Health, which services hospitals in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The printers are being operated by eight volunteer engineers between 7 a.m. and midnight daily.
“The biggest thing was just even getting shields to be available,” Jacuzzi said, as quoted in a Charlotte Observer article. “The rationing of equipment that’s happening out of necessity is greater than we thought, so we were kind of surprised at the need level.”
Other medical applications for which the NASCAR R&D Center 3D printers are being used include the creation of a human head replica for medical professionals at Wake Forest University to use in development of other coronavirus protection techniques and equipment used by several pedicatric facilities.
“As the word is getting out, it’s kind of snowballing,” Jacuzzi said.
NASCAR activities have been on hold since March 13. Teams also have temporarily shut down as a result of quarantine mandates in North Carolina.