Spring on the York College campus

Printing PPE

Evan Lehr poses casually for a photo

Evan Lehr ’20 left the York College campus for his home in Montgomery County like many other students did after COVID-19 forced classes to move online. The Mechanical Engineering major spent his days logging into Zoom and completing class projects at home. But when Lehr heard area hospitals were desperate for supplies, he thought he could use his expertise in a more impactful way. 

A woman in his neighborhood is a nurse for Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, and Lehr heard they needed face shields. “I had the 3D printer and the supplies,” he says. “All I had to do was find a design online, and I got to work.” In a single day, he could print about a dozen face shields. 

He also heard that St. Luke’s Hospital Warren Campus needed disposable stethoscope parts, and he figured out how to make those, too. During the Spring Semester, Lehr made about 500 face shields and several dozen stethoscope parts. When the local hospitals had enough, his friend started sending the personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies to other hospitals that needed them. 

“I knew that if I was sick in the hospital bed, I would want to know the people taking care of me had everything they needed to do their job,” Lehr says. “It was important to me to help out.” 

Creating the PPE ended up being a way for him to get back to the hands-on work he likes so much. And he found some great support from faculty who heard about what he was doing. 

Drew Wilkerson, Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering program, says Lehr is “a go-to guy” for 3D printing parts. He even worked with Lehr to allow him to use his time making the PPE to earn class credits. “I, for one, am very proud of Evan,” Wilkerson says. “He typifies what many of our students do in service to the community.”