NEWBURYPORT — After about a month of 3-D printing of personal protective equipment for area hospitals and others in need, a team of staff members at Newburyport Public Schools are in need of supplies to continue their work.

District IT technician Michael Morse does all the 3-D printing at his home, technology operations manager Don Skane handles assembly and shipping, and Newburyport High School technology and engineering instructor Sarah Leadbeater keeps track of equipment requests and logistics. 

Since taking on this project several weeks ago, the group, which borrowed the 3-D printers from Leadbeater’s engineering lab, has made 718 face shields, 170 ventilator splitters and 2,323 ear saver bands through a partnership with MakeIt Labs in Nashua, New Hampshire.

The ventilator splitters allow more than one person to be attached to a ventilator, which helps manage the shortage many hospitals are facing with ventilators. Ear saver bands are a favorite for health care workers because they lessen ear pain caused by wearing a face mask for long periods, Leadbeater said. 

All of these supplies have since been donated to facilities that include Anna Jaques Hospital, Pentucket Medical, Lawrence General Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital, Beverly Hospital and Brigham Manor Nursing Home. 

All three staff members, while balancing their already-heavy workloads, have been working around the clock to make these supplies and ship them off to those in need. They have a number of requests pending, but they encourage first responders and medical personnel to continue reaching out with individual requests.

The group has since printed its way through all of the filament Leadbeater had in a stockpile for her classes, which she said “is horrifying because I consider myself a hoarder.” She did trying making her own filament, but was unsuccessful.

While she does not want anyone to go out and buy supplies, Leadbeater is asking for donations in case people have extra supplies they are not using.

Specifically, they are looking for 1.75mm PLA or PETG and also 3/8-inch pipe foam, which is a closed cell foam that can easily be disinfected and used to make the brims of visors more comfortable to wear.

The group is hoping to set up a monetary donation site soon, but those details are still in the works. They are joined in their efforts by The Governor’s Academy, which recently started 3-D printing, assembling and delivering supplies as well.

To request personal protective equipment for first responders and medical personnel or to make a donation, email Leadbeater at

A previous article about their efforts can be found at

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