KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From doctors and nurses to paramedics and caregivers, healthcare workers need equipment to protect them while treating patients with COVID19.
Governors in Missouri and Kansas continue to order masks, respirators, gloves, gowns and face shields. Federal agencies are also delivering the personal protective equipment (PPE) to states. But it’s a struggle to keep up with the demand.
Now, “makers” are filling the gap.
Dave Dalton runs a maker-space in Kansas City, Missouri, called Hammerspace Workshop.
Makers are hobbyist who turn ideas into reality. Many of them pay memberships to belong to makers-spaces, which provide 3D printers, laser cutters and other tools to help the hobbyists.
“We are good at seeing problems and coming up with rapid solutions to fix those problems. In these types of times, those rapidly-deployable solutions are what’s necessary. So we almost can’t, we can’t help ourselves. When we see a problem, we want to make it better,” Dalton admitted.
Right now, all the equipment in Hammerspace Workshop is creating face shields. Laser cutters mold raw plastic into shape, and 3D printers create pieces that attach the shields to people.
Shields cover people from their foreheads past their chins. It gives an extra layer of protection over the eyes and mouths of medical workers.
Dalton said he has enough material to create about 3,000 face shields. He will sell them to local hospitals and fire departments for the price he says it cost him to buy the material: $2.50 per shield.
Dalton’s work is part of a call to action from the “Nation of Makers” group. It is sharing guidelines on how to create specific face shields so that maker-spaces across the country and people with the tools in their own homes can create PPE.
“We’re just hoping maker-spaces can continue to be part of the solution here. We know it’s just a little part, but as concerned citizens, we’re just trying to do our best to help out,” Dalton said.
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