We all have skills that can benefit other. Sometimes the most rewarding things we do come from our efforts to help other. Is COVID-19 your opportunity to serve your community?
I've never been good at watching a crisis unfold without asking myself if I could make a difference. Getting involved in a cause or trying to improve the conditions of others in a crisis is very fulfilling. After self-quarantining for the first weeks of the coronavirus, I started looking for a way to help.
There was a dire need for personal protective equipment (PPE). A doctor I knew at St. Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, conveyed that his staff was overwhelmed. They were in desperate need of masks, face shields, gloves, and gowns. My company had shut down all of its corporate facilities for the pandemic. One of these empty buildings housed three Ultimaker 2+, 3D printers. I was able to gain access and get in contact with some technical help. The plan was simple, figure out something we could make to help the frontline healthcare workers.
Erik Brazil, my Ultimaker 2+ printer expert, and I started work on April 7, 2020, as the pandemic was raging. After some discussion, we found a viable face shield design. Working around the clock, for the next 24 days, we kept our printers chugging. Jabil, my former employer, provided resources and I leveraged the expertise across the additive manufacturing (3D printing) organization to streamline our operation. Within 72 hours, we had gone through three design revisions, produced our first 60 face shields, and had shipped them from Florida to New Jersey.
We reached out to 16 local hospitals as well. Leveraging material and technical resources in St. Petersburg, FL, San Jose, CA, Seattle, WA, Clinton, MA, and Chaska, MN we donated approximately 1,000 face shields.