This is a guest post by Adam Hinz, Youth Services Coordinator at the Great Neck Library in Nassau County, NY.
The Great Neck Library is located in Nassau County, NY, and is right on the border of Queens, NY. By the end of the day on March 13, we were advised that the library was going to be closed through the end of the month (obviously much longer at this point).
About a week or two after the library closed, another library professional reached out to me and a colleague about a 3D printing project to create personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical personnel. We were all in!
The files and designs for the project are all open-source. I looked them over and everything seemed straightforward. There were already several options designers had put out there, but the face shield we ultimately decided to use was one that did not require any foam or elastic. This would help alleviate having to worry about ordering additional components. The only additional piece besides what is 3D printed is an overhead transparency. The 3D printed piece goes around your head, and the transparency connects to it to create a shield.
Once the details were worked out, I asked my supervisor for permission to take home a 3D printer from our STEM Lab and to use the laser engraver to cut the holes and round the edges of the transparency film. She agreed and we were in business! My colleague Chris helped tweak the design files for the transparencies to accommodate letter size paper, as the original design was in A4. After this hiccup was cleared, I cut as many transparency films as I could, grabbed a 3D printer, and headed home.
Over the last month, my dining room table has been a production center for making the shields. There have been issues to troubleshoot throughout. When I ran out of laser cut transparency films, I had to borrow a Silhouette from a friend to continue making more. Another friend started the project on his own 3D printer and gave me the head pieces he 3D-printed so that I could add the transparency films.
Ultimately, a patron from the community helped us connect with the right people at Northwell Health for donations. They have advised us that the face shields meet their specifications and are usable. I have provided a link to the model we are working with at the end of this post. In addition, the National Institute of Health also has provided specifications for 3D printed PPE that hospitals, doctors, and other medical personnel can use. At this point, many hospitals and municipalities have instructions for donating PPE on their websites. In addition, you can reach out and donate PPE to other essential employees who are dealing directly with the public such as transit employees, grocery workers, and delivery personnel.
At this point, we are more than a month into the shutdown. COVID-19 has been relentless in Downstate NY. We are tremendously thankful to the medical personnel who are working hard every day, and we are just glad to help!
National Institute of Health 3D PPE: https://3dprint.nih.gov/discover/ppe
Open Source Face Shield Files: https://3dverkstan.se/protective-visor/
– Adam Hinz