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Junior Donald Doyle III is passionate about all things technology, which spans across his professional goals, personal life and even his civic responsibilities. Coming from a family of tech professionals and enthusiasts, learning to program a computer came almost as naturally as learning to ride a bike for Donald. While he is pursuing an information technology management major with a goal to hold a career as a computer network engineer, Donald is already putting his skills to use to make a difference in the world. Recently, the Doyle family leapt into action to 3D print personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical professionals impacted by the shortage of resources due to COVID-19.

“Our project started when my father, Donald Doyle II, was tasked with designing a solution for a national health care network to create labs that would allow hospitals to print their own PPE,” Donald explained. “When he found out about the shortage in that specific organization, he started reaching out to local hospitals, and he found out that the shortage was very serious. Since he was still busy with work, he asked me to print a couple of test models for masks and face shields. The first few prints were simply to test if a hospital could print PPE themselves, but we quickly realized that the hospitals we were working with were already in short supply and didn’t have time to get labs set up for themselves.”

“We had five printers at the time, and only one of them was fully functioning. It became my job to start getting them up and running so we could print the masks ourselves and provide them directly to the hospitals. While we were making an impact, it was clear that we needed to expand beyond what we were printing in just our household in Fenton. Since, we’ve set up new labs with 10 printers each in Frankenmuth, Clarkston and Green Bay, one lab in Sterling Heights with eight printers, and we are currently building a larger lab in our home with 18 printers.”

3D Printers

3D Printers in Action

The equipment Donald’s family is producing includes plastic mask filters that are able to be disinfected for up to six uses, face shields, and mask belts that provide more comfortable wear than traditional elastic. Each member of the family proudly holds a role in the process. While Donald II manages the project and Donald focuses on repairs and maintenance, his mother, Amy, assembles and delivers the PPE and his younger brother, Vaughn, helps design and model the printed equipment.

“‘Be More. Do Good.’ encompasses the whole reason my family has taken on this project, even though we have many factors motivating us to do so,” Donald said. “It would be easy for us to sit at home and say, ‘I’m glad that’s not us,’ but every major health care provider is running out of supplies, putting hospitals in a position where they cannot protect their doctors and nurses. When PPE runs out, people don’t stop getting sick and doctors can’t stop caring for them, so we need to provide them with protection. We are doing everything in our power to meet that demand.”

Prior to using 3D printers to create PPE, Donald pursued 3D printing as a hobby. He credits his professors at Olivet College in helping him explore the skill.

Examples of 3D Printed PPE

Examples of 3D Printed PPE

“I would not be prepared to work with 3D printers as I am now if I had not been given the chance to pursue my hobby in 3D printing,” Donald said. “That chance was provided to me through the OC Mathematics and Computer Science Department as a first-year student. My professors supported me in using a portion of free space in Mott 303 to set up a 3D printer. I had almost given up my hope of owning a 3D printer because I had nowhere to put it, but thanks to Professor Barry Poulson, J.D., I was able to start my hobby and learn everything that has led me to be in the position I am in now.”

While the Doyle family has made a significant impact in their community, Donald encourages everyone to get involved in their own way to make a difference across the state and beyond.

“Right now, medical professionals are risking their health to care for COVID-19 patients because it is their job, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as scared as we are,” Donald said. “Doctors and nurses are catching the virus due to the shortage of equipment but we are still relying on them to do their jobs, so we need to do what we can to support them. Not everyone needs to manage 50 3D printers, but each person can play their own part.”

Learn more about how you can get involved with Donald’s project at https://bit.ly/2xpoxcB.

Contact Olivet College at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu for more information about becoming a student.

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