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3D Printing Face Shields for Frontline Providers Keeping OUr providers healthy, so they can continue to save lives

Students, staff and faculty from CSU Channel Islands are volunteering along with community members, and STEMbassadors. STEMbassadors is a local 501(c)3 non-profit group of local teachers and students. Together, they are working around the clock to 3D print face shields. This collaborative work is being done at individuals' homes to maintain social distancing. Supplies for the shields have been generously provided for by Adobe and American Plastics. The face shields are going to our local front line providers to help fight this pandemic. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is critically low as the demand for PPE nationally and globally is extremely high in the midst of the COVID-19 surge. We have sent 3000 shields to VCMC, Santa Paula, Dignity, CMH, Cottage, Ojai, Woodland Hills ER, USC, US Navy, and other front line providers across the country.

The Immediacy of the Situation

Front line providers at the Santa Paula Hospital had run out of face shields and did not have the protection they needed. They had to perform a high risk procedure on a PUI (Person Under Investigation) for COVID-19. Quite timely, a local individual donated a box full of face shields which were used that very night. To preserve N95 masks, the providers are also wearing home sewn masks over the N95 masks. Unfortunately, this not an unusual story - our front line providers all across the country are facing severe shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE). Many providers are risking their lives without the protection they desperately need.

Why are face shields important?

About 20% of COVID-19 patients are hospitalized and 5% will need to be intubated. During intubation front line providers are close to the face of the patient and droplets get into the air. It is a high risk procedure for infection. Also, when patients cough they can spray droplets of virus on providers's faces. Face shields protect the provider from getting droplets into the eyes and face.

Teamwork in Making the Shields

The design originated from Prusa, it has been approved by NIH and vetted by our local hospital infection control. The frames are printed using 3D printers from over 50 machines in our community. The shields are laser and die cut by American Plastics and Alex Wulff from de Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts using his STEMbassadors/Maker Space group. The parts are assembled together by Alex Wulff.

One Ventura County Medical Center ER physician, Dr. Travis Keeling, wrote a thank you letter to the volunteers - “Just a quick maiden voyage to report. I used a face shields …for an intubation tonight and it was PERFECT. Goggles fit underneath just right. Band has perfect elasticity. Easy to clean. I’m a huge fan…Really well designed.”

COVID-19 Motel

Front line providers working at the "COVID-19 motel" in Oxnard are relying on these donated shields. The "COVID-19 motel" is a local motel where the quarantined or COVID-19 positive homeless patients are staying.

Backpack Medicine

Face shields are being utilized in the field for the county's backpack medicine program at our homeless encampments. Possible COVID-19 patients are removed to COVID-19 motel to hopefully prevent further spread to the rest of the community who are all in close quarters.

What needs to be done?

We are now working on respirators for our front line providers. We are working on making injection molding face shields as well. The hospitals are also low on other PPE and hospital supplies. Many of our local front line providers are currently working without proper PPE and are risking their lives. If you are interested in supporting this project, we need:

  • Donations of plastics (PETG), PLA, or 0.75" rubber banding
  • Funds to purchase materials
  • Volunteers to 3D print frames
  • Volunteers interested in making/sewing other PPE (gowns and masks)
  • Donations of PPE (gowns, masks, gloves), thermometers, baby monitors and sanitizers

Contacts

Acknowledgments

  • Funding from Adobe
  • Donation of materials and time from American Plastics
  • Design from Prusa
  • Volunteers from the community and CSUCI