Texas Torque 3D Prints Masks

CP Robotics Team steps up to provide PPE for medical professionals and essential workers.


Jillian Parks, Reporter

Robotics team, Texas Torque, has used quarantine as an opportunity to serve the community by manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for essential workers. 

“A pediatrician contacted one of our mentors about making PPE,” Texas Torque mentor Scott Rippetoe said. “They brought the idea to me and Lucien Junkin, lead mentor for FIRST Robotics Team 118 Robonauts and Chief Engineer for the NASA Space Exploration Vehicle. I worked on a 3D printed design while Lucien pursued one that could be made more quickly.”

The masks are 3D printed by about twenty local printers. The most requested item is the ProShield inspired by a 3D printed face shield by a popular 3D printer company in the Czech Republic. The ProShields are packed in a box along with rubber bands to use as elastic straps then shipped to hospitals or clinics. They have shipped to California, New York, Minnesota, Florida, and more, but most of what is produced stays in Texas.

“Through our work, we have made impacts both locally and nationally by producing PPE for essential workers all over the country,” junior Victoria Tatman said. “We have also been working with other FIRST robotics teams, such as 118, in order to mass produce PPE.” 

Robotics team members all play their part by 3D printing parts for face shields, mask sewing guides, and mask straps. They then drop the packages of the parts at other members’ houses for assembly. Finally, the assembled face shields are delivered to Rippetoe’s house in large trash bags, who distributes the masks to hospitals around Texas based on demand. 

“We’re protecting healthcare workers from COVID-19 and saving lives,” Rippetoe said.  “Now we are also helping retail workers like those at HEB that wear surgical masks all day to protect all of us from the virus.”

Some students also helped in designing prototypes for intubation boxes for local hospitals. Intubation boxes are meant to separate the outside world from the patient infected with coronavirus to prevent the spread of aerosolized corona particles. Student Michael Menezes designed the basics of the chamber with added features based on feedback from medical professionals, which was filed for a patent recently. 

“I hope [the students] have pride in what they are able to do even though they are confined at home,” Rippetoe said. 

People outside the robotics team have also stepped forward to help. Rippetoe is expecting a shipment of 500 surgical mask extenders printed by someone in North Carolina, while local people help in picking up and delivering items. They have also received over $20,000 in donations, mostly from people connected to someone on Texas Torque. 

“This all originated because we knew that with the resources we have, we had to do something during this devastating time for our community,” junior Sammy Lo said. “None of this would have been possible without our community’s generosity and support.”

For more information, to request a face shield, or to make donations, go to

texastorque.org. Support for this team and their efforts is support for the essential medical and retail workers at risk of exposure. Over 2000 face shields have been produced locally, but the demand is still present. 

“This has really been an eye-opening experience because it has shown me that even as a high school student, I am able to make a positive impact on others,” Tatman said. “We have been involved with the project for the entire duration of quarantine and are planning to continue producing PPE as long as there is a demand.”