Medical grade face shields being produced by volunteers

Electrical engineering student Isaac Black sets up a 3-D printer inside USU's Idea Factory. Photo courtesy of Utah State University

LOGAN – Medical grade face shields, hundreds of them, are rolling off small volunteer assembly lines in Cache Valley, in an effort that is pairing the College of Engineering and the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University with many in the community.

It is already making a difference to health care workers in Northern Utah.

It started when volunteer Mike Stokes and his son were working to find a face shield for a relative who is a dentist. It has taken off from there.

”This has, basically, a headband that is 3-D printed,” Stokes explained. “And it just springs on to the side of your head, like a ball cap or a pair of glasses. And then, we’re using A-4 transparency film — the overhead projector film — that people are not technically using much anymore because of technology.

“So, we’re able to print these and then we just snap these on to six points on this band that gives the protection for the face.”

Stokes, a volunteer at both the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services and the CPD’s Utah Assistive Technology Program, said the design is lightweight and comfortable. And it is popular with healthcare workers because it can be sanitized and used repeatedly.

When Stokes reached out to the Bear River Health Department and Intermountain Healthcare he received requests for at least 550 shields.

He initially approached the Engineering College and the Utah Assistive Technology Program and received use of their 3-D printers.

Joining the volunteer effort have been public school teachers, USU employees, Juniper Systems employees and local health officials.

After a week of production, the volunteers are producing 200 of the shields a day.

More information is available from the Utah Assistive Technology Program at uatpat.org.

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