MARQUETTE — As medical supplies run thin around the nation due to the COVID–19 virus, faculty from Northern Michigan University are doing their part to help.

NMU’s School of Art & Design faculty is using their 3-D printer and other equipment to make protective face masks for the medical community.

Contributions such as this can give people a sense of togetherness and comfort in uncertain times.

“I think that people feel comfort in knowing that we’re able to help in some way and contribute with our equipment,” said Peter Pless, Professor of Art & Design at NMU. “I would further encourage if there’s other needs by the medical industry that would be applicable to what will be in demand, resources that I would be willing to help design those and fabricate those for them. Between the laser cutter, between our 3-D printer, and water jet cutting capabilities, we have a lot of things we could do with that.”

Faculty and staff of NMU’s School of Art & Design are funding the project, with some backing from the university.

Marquette Area Public Schools is also contributing medical face masks, with the help of their own 3-D printer.

Printing the plastic visors takes about 3 hours to complete, while the shields take about 4 minutes to make.

The goal is to donate 300 masks to local hospitals. So far just over 30 have been made.