Our COVID-19 3D Printed PPE Face Shield & Ear Savers Story

EDIT Jun 29, 2020:

Lo and behold, after I closed down the donation portion of this page, folks still came to us asking how they could still help support us, so we’ve opened donations back up! Thank you to all of you, you’re awesome! To date (Jun 29, 2020), you’ve helped us cover 45% of our costs!

Our promise to the hospitals we’ve worked with is, should there be a future need due to supply or uptick of cases in the area, we have material stock on hand to produce more shields. For folks that would still like to support us in deferring the costs we’ve incurred during our production of 3D printed PPE face shields and ear savers, you can decide whatever amount works best for you by clicking Donate Here!

EDIT Jun 17, 2020:

THANK YOU to all the folks that supported us during our time 3D printing PPE face shield for our local hospitals. They have all reported back that they have a surplus of shields and our plan with each is that they will let us know, should there be a spike or second wave of COVID-19, if more face shields end up being needed. After 537 face shields made, last weekend was the first weekend we didn’t have shields to distribute since we started back in late March.

As businesses start to open up in phases, and more folks getting out with the need for face masks, we’ve focused on ear savers in the meantime. After distributing 633 ear savers to the hospitals we’ve worked with on the face shields, first responders, essential workers, barber shops/hair salons, and Black Lives Matter demonstrators, we will be transitioning to making them available for purchase. Please visit our store for info!

Thank you again to all who helped us! We could not have sustained this effort without you!

Jim, Anita, and Ian

EDIT May 31, 2020:

A milestone this week! We hit over 500 total PPE face shields, and over 450 ear savers distributed. We’ve been getting confirmation from most of our local hospitals that they have a surplus of shields (we’re awaiting confirmation from one of the hospitals), so we’ve begun winding down a little to make more ear savers. Hospitals and first responders were our first batches of the ear savers, and now that some reopening is happening, we’re sending some out to local businesses.

EDIT May 3, 2020:

THANK YOU! Thank you to all that have helped support us in making PPE face shields for our local hospitals and EMS folks. Your support has helped us purchase 3D printing filament, transparency film, 3D printer upgrades to increase the quality and consistency of prints, replacement micro SD card (after we had one go bad), and…. AN ADDITIONAL 3D PRINTER!

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Your support has helped us cover nearly 40% of our costs of materials to date.

This week, we not only completed and distributed 65 PPE face shields, we had our first batch of 48 ear savers! We now have 269 PPE face shields that have been distributed and in service at local hospitals and EMS folks.

2020-05-03-FS-ES

If you’re not familiar, ear savers are neat little things that instead of hooking the elastic of a surgical style mask to the ears, causing irritation over the course of a long shift, one instead hooks it to one of the prongs of the ear saver.

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Of course, Ian created on his iPad, and included a pictorial demo of how to use the ear saver.

Thank you again to all who have helped us! If you’d like to help support us as we continue to make PPE face shields and ear savers, we’d be very appreciative, and you can find more information below!


ORIGINAL POST Apr 10, 2020:

You may be thinking, “Wait, this isn’t about woodworking!”. No, it’s not. Bear with me though.

When COVID-19 began impacting the United States, and it was apparent that our front line medical professionals were going to have a shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), we wanted to find a way to help.

Our son received a 3D printer for Christmas a couple of years ago – he is pretty tech savvy. He and I researched models that we could likely produce in decent enough numbers given the speed and capacity of his 3D printer. He then showed me how to import the model into the slicing software, then slice it so we could copy the resulting gcode file to the micro SD card the printer reads off of. Yes, the kid showed the IT guy how to do something technical… ha! Once we had enough frames printed, it was family assembly line time! To be honest, as a kid on the autism spectrum/ADHD and prone to some anxiety, I think it helps him to know we are helping in some small way.

We have been printing for over two weeks now, and as of this writing (10 Apr), we have 75 PPE face shields distributed to and in use at two local hospitals and some with EMS folks. We did run into some print quality issues and failed prints late this past week, which made us had to take a step back and troubleshoot. Some friends in the maker community have offered advice to help us get back on track. From their feedback, we have a bed upgrade on order. Despite this past week’s setback, the number of shields out there will be over 100 by the end of the weekend.

We now have a good sense of how many face shields we can produce in a week, and how much material we are consuming in making these. We just received additional filament and transparency film packages. We expect to use a 1kg spool of filament every 1.5 – 2 weeks, and a 100 count package of transparency film every 2 – 2.5 weeks or so. We intend to continue as long as there is a need.

How can you help?

  1. If you have a 3D printer, please consider putting to use to make some version of PPE. The model of face shield we are making is from the folks at 3DVERKSTAN. However, there are many models for face shields and masks that you can choose based on your 3D printer’s specifications.
  2. If you would like to help us offset our costs of production, and would like to make a monetary contribution, we would be very appreciative! That makes you awesome!

Thank you and stay safe!

Jim, Anita, and Ian