3D printing PPE
30 Apr 2020
Architectural Credit: Dory Azar, Architect
I bought my first 3D printer in 2013. At the time, I wanted to use it to produce 3D models for my small practice. Since then, I’ve purchased three more printers and printed thousands of items, (mostly architectural in nature). I knew 3D printers were capable of a lot, but I had no idea that one day, I would be using them to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line healthcare workers during a global pandemic.
When the COVID-19 situation got more serious towards the end of March 2020, the 3D printing community started buzzing with designs for face shields, ventilator parts, and other helpful gear. I set up three of my 3D printers in my home office, found some open source files for face shields online, and posted a few photos of the ones that I printed on my social media channels. At the time, our local hospitals were not yet allowing the use of non-approved PPE, but hospitals in Michigan were and they desperately needed it. So, I began offering face shields and “ear-savers” to Canadian nurses who cross the border to work in Michigan (I’m based in Windsor). Before I knew it, I was on the front page of the Windsor Star
for my efforts. That’s when the requests really started to pour in. Since then, I’ve had my 3D printers running 12-15 hours per day from my home office. Many members of the community also stepped in with monetary and in-kind donations to support the cause. So far, I have printed and distributed over 1000 units, with some being sent as far as Toronto and Halifax, all at no cost to the healthcare workers. If anyone has a 3D printer and would like to help, the healthcare workers still need the PPE and will be very grateful for your help.
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