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UCSF using 3D printers to make face shields for healthcare workers

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — With more medical staff needing to use face shields during the coronavirus crisis, some staff members at UCSF have taken matters into their own hands.

More than a dozen 3D printers at UCSF are churning out critical parts for face shields.

This effort started three weeks ago to address a growing concern about their supply of what has quickly become a very necessary piece of protective equipment.  

“For this virus the primary mode of transmission is droplets so you want to be able to protect the front line conditions especially if they’re doing any kind of procedures that aerosolized any kind of bodily fluids, they want to have that front line defense of that shield,” explains Ramana Sastry, UCSF Director of Clinical Engineering.

Sastry reached out to the hospital’s “Makers Lab” and it so happened that because of the COVID-19 crisis, some of the orthopedic surgeons who normally use the technology to create models of the broken bones suddenly had time on their hands to help search for solutions to this problem. 

“Because elective surgeries were canceled, my OR days became an open research/innovation day,” said Dr. Alexis Dang.

They found designs for 3D printed face shields online but those required components that are now hard to come by.

“The original design calls for a laser cut face shield which is honestly a little better it’s a little clearer but the availability of that is quite difficult to get right now,” Dr. Dang explains.

Their 3D printed frames are married with precut plastic from the same report covers students use in school. Rubber bands are used to hold them together, since elastic is also becoming harder to source.

They are now producing 300 face shield a day.

Designed for ease of use, the frames can be cleaned and reused and the front face plastic can be swapped out as needed.

They are making their design and printing procedures available on the web for anyone to use and are hoping to team up with manufacturers to ramp up production to make this lifesaving equipment more readily available.

Click here for the UCSF Printed Face Shield Repository

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