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Producing face shields with 3D printing

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Marymount University professor in Arlington Eric Bubar, a longtime provider of 3D-printed upper-limb assistive devices, is now shifting his focus to creating 3D printed, reusable face shields for use at hospitals in Washington, New York and beyond.

“It has been quite an adventure to build up a nationwide distribution network to meet the needs that are out there, all while turning my home into a 3D-printing farm,” Bubar said. “As fast as I crank them out, they’re scooped up by medical providers.”

Bubar partnered with the D.C. chapter of Enabling the Future, a global community of volunteers who provide 3D-printed prosthetics to those in need. Chapters of e-NABLE across the country have joined forces in a national effort to provide 3D-printed face shields at no cost to assist the personnel working on the front lines against COVID-19.

The shields being produced can be disinfected so they can be cleaned and reused, therefore helping to preserve the longevity of the protective gear medical providers have available to them.

Bubar said that while they’re not the “ideal solution,” the face shields provide an added layer of protection for health care workers until large-scale manufacturing of the protective gear can begin to meet the intense demand.

So far, e-NABLE has shipped about 250 face shields to locations in Washington, Arlington, Annandale, Woodbridge and Hyattsville locally, and further to New York City, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Florida and California.

“It’s a large effort with lots of people involved, one that was basically built up over a weekend,” Bubar explained. “Coronavirus moves fast, but so does our response to it.” 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020