A Marymount University professor, assisted by a team of educators and tech innovators, has built and shipped more than 250 laser-printed face shields to medical providers in Arlington, Annandale, Woodbridge and Hyattsville as well as to New York City, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Florida and California.
“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 3-D printing farm,” said Eric Bubar, an associate professor of biology and physical sciences at the Arlington school. “As fast as I crank them out, they’re scooped up by medical providers.”
Working with the D.C. chapter of Enabling the Future, a global community of volunteers who provide 3-D-printed prosthetics to those in need, Bubar said the face shields use two Czech and Swedish open-source designs. Bubar worked with Maricé Morales, a Maryland state delegate, to have shields sent to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, one of the medical centers hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, where her sister works.
In addition, Bubar has worked with Peter von Elling and Eric Offerman at Nova Labs, a maker space in Reston, which is providing laser cutting services to produce the clear shield pieces in bulk. A Marymount student who is also a volunteer EMT has printed parts on his home printer. Marymount interior design Professors Doug Seidler and Moira Denson lent their printing expertise and industry connections.
Marymount donated money to pay for the materials for laser cutting. Each face shield is composed of roughly $4 to $5 in separate raw materials, which volunteers have covered. In the past week, a GoFundMe account has raised about $6,500 of their $10,000 goal. Other schools and universities have joined in.
Amanda Jarvis, head of Mason Innovation Exchange at George Mason University, is working to create 3-D printed portions of the face shields to match the quantity of laser-cut pieces being produced. Matt Cupples, a makerspace teacher in Arlington Public Schools, is printing more face shields with the assistance of volunteers in his school system.
Bubar is still looking for help from experienced laser printers at email@example.com. Marymount has set up a drop box outside the guardhouse at the university’s main entrance on North Glebe Road in Arlington, where volunteers can leave their 3-D-printed pieces to be paired with shields that are being laser-cut in bulk by Nova Labs volunteers.