Data Science Major Prints Masks for Health Care Workers

Gavin Rozzi

When graduate student Gavin Rozzi heard that health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic were facing a shortage of personal protective equipment, he used his technology hobby to turn household items into masks with respirators.

Over Stockton University’s spring break, Rozzi began cutting vacuum cleaner bags into masks and fitting them with plastic respirators printed from his home with a 3D printer.

“Neighbors and friends are contributing supplies, so this has been a community effort,” the Ocean County resident said.

Rozzi has a pattern for a respirator that he sends to his printer. “In the process of 3D printing, the physical object is sliced into many, many small layers, and the printer iteratively goes over each one of those layers until it builds the full object,” he explained.

A motor feeds a spool of filament to an extruder, which heats the plastic and outputs layers onto the bed of the printer, where the object can harden and cool off.

Each mask takes 6-7 hours to complete, so Rozzi can produce 2-3 masks per day. Time is a limiting factor, but through social media, he is creating a network to involve others who have resources and can help.

Rozzi is sharing his process and patterns with people who can put additional 3D printers to work.

“With the power of social media, I had people in different states that I ordinarily never would have crossed paths with being inspired by this and using it to help their own communities. It’s amplifying the impact tremendously,” he explained.

Rozzi, a 2018 Political Science graduate now in the Data Science and Strategic Analytics master’s program, has always liked to tinker and experiment with technology.

“It’s always been a lifelong interest of mine,” he said.

As an amateur radio operator with an interest in emergency communications, he bought a 3D printer to make custom antennae to work with wireless signals and pull in weather satellite imagery and data.

Now, while staying at home and returning to school virtually, masks are his priority.

“I think this is a chance for technology to really make an impact and hopefully save lives,” he said.

Anyone interested in getting in touch with Gavin Rozzi, can use his contact form on his personal website

About Gavin Rozzi: Rozzi worked for the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton as a graduate assistant and research assistant. He conducted data analysis for polls and co-authored a research report on the underground construction on New Jersey’s economy. For his Data Science and Strategic Analytics master’s project, he is building upon the work he did to digitize New Jersey public records into a statewide database. He sees his future work applying technology and research in the field of public policy to address pressing public concerns in New Jersey and nationwide. His advice to students: “Find something you are passionate about and keep pursuing it. Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t follow your dream.”

UPDATE: Since this story was published, Rozzi has started to make face shields too. He created a livestream via Twitch for anyone to view the 3D printer in action. 

Reported by Susan Allen