Around the world, we all have to deal with the effects that the Coronavirus brings with it. Like many other countries, here in the Netherlands, we have to deal with the virus too. And we all have to deal with the shortage of personal protection equipment these days. It was amazing to see how fast some members of the community started to think about solutions for this problem. Some designed new valves or other parts for breathing equipment in hospitals, others worked on hands-free door openers. Czech 3D printer and filament manufacturer Prusa Research came up with a great idea. Josef Prusa and his team started to design Protective Face Shields that are cheap and easy to print. A large part of the Prusa print farm in Prague is now used for the production of the face shields and they managed to make 55000 pieces in under 3 weeks. Prusa Research is donating the masks for free to people in the frontline, fighting Covid19.
I also started a campaign and I’m currently printing the Prusa Face Shields around the clock for over three weeks. First, I contacted the Dutch Red Cross to ask if they required face protection in the fight against the coronavirus. They told me the idea was great but they can’t take them in because of European Laws. However, they did point out to me that local organizations would be able to make good use out of the shields. The next thing was searching for sponsors. I contacted ColorFabb filaments and they were more than willing to help out and offered 17,5 kilograms of PETG Economy. Leiden’s H.L. Druckerfonds offered me their maximum of €250 to help me buying the needed supplies like Bio-Ethanol for disinfection, and elastic bands. And De Laser Frezer donated 500 PETG custom made, laser cut visors to finish the shields.
I already handed out over 400 Prusa Face Shields to doctors’ offices, pharmacies, dentists, a home for the elderly, tattoo shops, beauty salons, police, and our Royal Military Police. So the first 500 Shields are almost finished but after some attention from our local newspaper Leidsch Dagblad, and national BNR Newsradio, I get more and more requests from all over the country. I’m now shipping boxes all over the country and even one to the other side of the world.
All of the face shields were handed out for free so far. This was only possible because of the help of the sponsors named earlier in the story. Luckily, some of the people who received the shields were so kind as to make a small donation. I’m very thankful and this is the only way to keep going after the 500 shields are distributed. My friends from HooksInk079 also needed shields for when they are allowed to open their shop again and offered me a huge donation of €100 to help me buy new materials. A huge thank you is the least I can do.
I will keep making as many shields as I possibly can. Because of all the help, I am still able to print on my two Original Prusa i3 MK3S printers using the materials I still have. In the beginning, I was able to run one more printer at the same time but all my PETG spools went into the project so at this point I’m down to two. I am receiving a new 4.5Kg spool of ColorFabb PETG Economy, and 2Kg of Orange Prusament for PPE soon. I also ordered a new spool of elastic band and contacted De Laser Frezer to see if we can make new PETG visors. There is a huge shortage of PETG sheets in 0.5mm at the moment because the whole global 3D printing community is using the Prusa Face Shields, but we are looking into other options.
I hope you and your loved ones will be spared all the misery that the coronavirus brings with it. We all have to deal with what probably is the most difficult time in our lives. But you need to keep in mind that for many of us this outbreak might be even worse. Think about the people that actually have to deal with the virus face to face. All the people in the supermarkets and other businesses that keep our communities going. I am doing everything I can to help as many of these heroes as possible and many others in the 3D printing community with me. If you would like to support this project and help me out by doing a small donation, then please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you all the information you’ll need.
Thanks for reading.