Eighth Grader Uses STEM Knowledge to Aid Medical Professionals


Canyon Rauch

Eighth grader canyon Rauch shows off one of the masks he 3D printed at his house.

During this quarantine, which has  Benjamin’s students learning remotely from home  for the rest of the academic year, many have taken this time to relax. Activities such as watching TV, playing video games, going in the pool, and spending time with family have been some of the popular pastimes. 

However, instead of binge-watching shows on Netflix, eighth grader Canyon Rauch has been occupied with helping in the relief effort for the coronavirus pandemic. Since the start of April, Rauch has been using his own 3D printer to make wearable face shields, making approximately 250 of them since he started. 

Canyon Rauch
Rauch uses a paint scraper to lift one of the face shield frames from his 3D printer.

To make the [shields, I] put in the design to the 3D printer, and monitor the print[ing process] to make sure everything [is] going the way it should be,” said Rauch. This process produces about five shields a day, and each one takes around one hour to make. 

Rauch originally received the design for his 3D printer from one of his mother’s co-workers at FPL, but he customized it a bit. 

“I tweaked it so that it would work with a three-hole punch so it makes it easier to place a transparent plastic sheet on the frame,” Rauch said. 

Rauch plans to donate the finished shields to people working in the medical field in Florida. He has already donated around 50 masks as of May 11, and he is preparing to donate even more in the coming weeks. 

“[The medical professionals I have donated shields to have] said that it’s extremely helpful that more people around the state are helping out and doing their part to help out, even if they think they can’t do anything,” said Rauch.

The school community has been very proud of Rauch’s act of kindness. 

“It was never a doubt that Mr. Rauch and Canyon [would dive] into this amazing undertaking,” said Middle School STEM Coordinator Mr. Matthew Oster. “Canyon is without a doubt one of the finest 3D engineers and printers in our TBS community.”

“I’m extremely proud of Canyon and the other students who chose to spend their free time at home helping others,” said Head of Middle School Mr. Charles Hagy. 

Making these shields involves some of the skills that the students have been taught through the STEM program. Students like Rauch are proving that STEM knowledge can be applied to address issues in our own community.

Canyon Rauch
Several of the face shield frames await the application of the actual face shield which are made of three-hole-punched transparencies.

“One of the most important aspects of our STEM program is trying to solve problems to help our community,” said Hagy. “I’m sure Canyon and other students have used their STEM knowledge for this purpose – to help others,” he said.

Fellow eighth grader Winni Cox was the one who first alerted TBS about what Rauch was doing, and thought the shields could help the School as well.

“I was impressed that he had thought of [the idea],” said Cox. “I [contacted] Mr. Oster, Mr. Crisafi, and Mr. Hagy [about Canyon’s shields and they are considering] using these for the teachers next year so we can come back to school.”

Rauch’s efforts have also been posted to The Benjamin School’s website and Twitter feed, and the aspiring engineer is grateful he can use his love of technology to help others.

“I found something I could do to help, and it may not be the cure to the whole disease, but it’s something that I can do to help out [with] what’s going on around the country, and the state, and the community at large,” Rauch said.