University of South Florida


USF Artists Donate Tools to Combat COVID-19

Face shields printed for Tampa Bay hospitals

It’s often said there’s a place where art and medicine intersect. That’s become even more apparent since the coronavirus pandemic. The USF School of Art & Art History has provided medical personnel a 3d printer, face shields and respirators regularly utilized in its studios.

USF College of the Arts 3d printer is being used to create nasal swabs to test for COVID-19

USF College of the Arts 3D printer is being used to create nasal swabs to test for COVID-19.

The Sculpture and Ceramics studio donated its Formlabs 3d printer to the USF Department of Radiology at Tampa General Hospital. This specific printer is equipped to handle medical grade materials, allowing for the production of plastic nasal swabs currently being used to test for COVID-19. The machine was purchased four years ago and has printed materials ranging in use from bronze casting to building new tools and creating masterpieces using clay, wax and more.

“I realized our printer in ceramics could help the medical field in the fight against COVID-19 printing the much-needed swabs for testing,” said Chuck McGee, ceramics teaching laboratory specialist. “It has been incredible for me to make connections with so many people in different professions using the same technology.”

McGee is also working with a group of volunteers led by USF alumnus Michael Guinn, printing face shields. Using Guinn’s design, McGee has printed 150 shields at the USF Fine Arts studio to donate to hospitals throughout Tampa Bay. This type of shield has a thicker, more durable plastic than those that are currently being mass-produced as they’re intended for more long-term use.

The USF College of the Arts also donated 40 N-95 respirators to Advent Health. The artists had previously used them to protect against sawdust and other toxic chemicals.

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