Hamilton primary school using 3D printers to design face shields for health workers

Source: 1News

A Hamilton primary school is using its 3D printers to make face shield parts for general practices and hospitals around the country.

Te Ao Mārama teacher Frank Young is involved in The Shields Up project, which was created by a collective of organisations with 3D printers called Makers NZ Relief Work.

The initiative will see disposable face masks distributed to stretched health facilities, with orders for supplies from health facilities around the country nearing 6000.

"It’s just kind of exploded… people are asking for anywhere from one to 200 just for one sort of practice,” Mr Young said.

“It’s pretty heart-breaking cause sometimes there’s a practice out there with seven people and they’ve got one to share between them.”

It comes as the country today saw the number of confirmed and probable coronavirus cases rise to 368.

Mr Young said demand has been crazy and he’s now upscaled production to make 15 face shields every nine hours on three machines.

The school’s 3D printers have been moved to his house for production during the lockdown, and Hukanui School has also donated a 3D printer for the cause.

Mr Young said the equipment is usually used for student design projects like making keyrings.

The plastic material for the shield parts has been donated by the school, and overhead projector transparent film has been used for the facial shield.

Principal Tony Grey said students are encouraged to do chores around the house while under isolation to raise a small amount of pocket money to donate to the cause.

He said it’s nice for the school to be able to fulfil one of its values of helping the community at this time and to keep himself busy with schools closed.

“It is pretty awesome. Kids get to see them being used to make a difference,” Mr Young said.

Makers NZ Relief Work has since created an online national fundraiser on Givealittle to pay for more material to keep the project going.

To help donate to the project,  click here.