Project Face Shield NZ is an online community of over 200 NZ based 3D Printer owners who through the Covid19 Lockdown, started to see unprecedented demand from front line agencies for Personal Protection Equipment, (PPE equipment) including Face Shields.
Would be we have enough proper medical PPE shields for everyone? & are there any supply issues for the main health organisations? They felt there would be value in having a Plan B ready for NZ, should the proper devices not be available to everyone who might need them in case the crisis worsened or there was a shortage.
The priority should always be to ensure that all our front line staff members that dedicate their lives for us, are looked after with the best protective gear and while they realised they were not a professional maker, they felt being ready as a Plan B would be of value.
Having seen similar projects popping up amongst groups of Europe’s 3d printers, they decided to put their Plan B into place. Making Face shields to offer some protection to the front liners in our crisis struck population.
Some of the sharpest minds in NZ’s 3D scene Liam, Ken, Ray, Stefan, Rob, Victor, Julie & Zubbin got together through the local 3D Printing Group. Their idea was to tap into local makers to have them contribute their 3d printer to make face masks & send them over for us to distribute to whoever needed it.
In no time at all, many members of the 3D printer group of varying skills and levels of expertise offered to join our adhoc group by offering their expertise.
In just 5 short days we welded together a collaboration of experts from different parts of the 3D spectrum built a sustainable funding model, full back end systems and front end forms complete with production tracking, resource measurements, head shield requests, raw material reimbursements, technical chat groups, and from there designed and optimised the product and formed a functioning structure for everyone to work efficiently together.
“Many companies could not pull of what we have in six months, let alone the week we did it in. We didn’t sleep but we are shipping product out to those who need it the most.” says Ray.
Stefan setup all the systems & processes along with Ken manning the social communication, Ray quickly jumped onboard & shared the groups goals to all interested members. Liam & Rob had a look at the popular Face Shield design that was published, but it needed adapting to speed up the process for products to be made more quickly and easily. The alternative design led to a shortage of elastic until Zubbin suggested using a special rubbery filament like rope which solved the problem easily.
Our unique design is now a world first using this filament rope instead of just fabric elastic.
This design was tested & Ray quickly did some test prints & assessed suitability.
Once the concept seemed to work, we sent a few over to a Doctor for some testing. He came back with positive feedback & placed the first request to get the printing started.
Armed with a vision, and that our idea had potential, Project Face Shield NZ decided it was time to put out the call to action.
A request went out to and was answered by makers, with support from everyone from Engineers to 3D Printing companies & even Hobbyists & Makers.
“Even people with 3d print farms, university students and staff, industrial engineers, prototype houses and 3D printer raw material suppliers all volunteered to give their time for free to produce protection equipment for front line medical staff. We are 3d printing the head bands for face shields, & then laser cutting clear sheets with holes to form the front visors.” enthuses Ray.
The project is now receiving orders from many private bodies in NZ requesting Faceshields urgently. Systems are in place to 3D print subsequent products if required.
All time and administration is given for free by every group member meaning we have zero overheads and every cent goes towards more shields.
Every $10 someone donates pays for raw materials for one more mask that we can give away. We urgently need money to keep this up.
If you can offer support by volunteering your 3D printer or laser cutter, design skills or in any other way, including financial donations the team would love to hear from you.