DENVER – As hospitals throughout Colorado continue to face a shortage of personal protective equipment, a network of students, professors, and other professionals are using 3D printers to create hundreds of face shields for health care workers.
The network is called “Make4COVID” and was started at the University of Colorado-Denver.
“The group that was formed has coordinated the efforts to be able to bring these makers and designers together so that they can produce face shields across the state. Logistically, they’re created, bagged and then delivered on the ground to the people that matter — which are our clinicians, doctors, nurses and first responders,” said Kristin Wood, CU-Denver Senior Associate Dean for Innovation Engagement in the College of Engineering.
Wood said even though “Make4COVID” started at CU-Denver, the network is growing.
“This movement that started out of Inworks at CU-Denver has grown to many universities across the state. It includes CU-Boulder, the Colorado School of Mines, and others. It includes other industries,” said Wood.
“We started off early on with 20-30 people and now this network has grown to probably close to 2,000,” said Howard Cook, a CU-Denver Clinical Track Assistant Professor.
“My research involves 3D, site-specific virtual reality stop-motion. And I use the printer to print the puppets that do the stop-motion animation,” said Cook.
Cook had not used his personal 3D printer yet, but after learning about “Make4COVID,” he decided to contribute to the effort.
“Fortunately, I had all of the tech I needed to be able to jump in,” said Cook.
“The 3D-printing portion takes about four hours to complete in order to get a single piece that we need for a headband part. Then the actual clear shield part is laser cut, which is being done by another group as well,” said CU-Denver Fabrication Lab Professional Paul Stockhoff.
Stockhoff said his group has been using 3D printers from the College of Architecture and Planning at CU-Denver.
The group has been in contact with labs from other cities, sharing printing files to make the components for the face shields.
“We’re seeing files come in from around the world and a huge effort of people trying to get this put together,” said Stockhoff.
Stockhoff said many of the 3D printers used for “Move4COVID” are working almost 24 hours a day in hopes of eliminating at least one challenge that healthcare workers face during the COVID-19 pandemic.