Help is on the way! School Makes 3D Printed Face Shields for Frontliners

Photo Credit: Ferny Grove State High School

Ferny Grove State High School stepped up in a major way to help two major hospitals and a Brisbane clinic, by using the school’s 3D printers to help produce face shields for medical frontliners in the battle against COVID-19.

Photo Credit: Ferny Grove State High School

3D-Printed Face Shields

The morning of April 2nd would have been just another day at work for Industrial Design and Agriculture Technology Head Corey Gieskens, had it not been for a call from Nick Aroney, a local medical practitioner, Nick Aroney. Mr Aroney asked if Ferny Grove State High School can help them by 3D printing face shields, in partnership with Metro North Hospital Service & The Common Good Au.

After an exchange of files and designs, Mr Gieskens and his team went to work, using four 3D printers from the school’s STEM labs and three 3D printers of their Design labs to print parts for the face shields.

The team of 30 people, manning the seven 3D printers in the school to produce half the requested quantity, and tapped members of the school community with access to 3D printers to produce the rest, under Mr Gieskens’ supervision.

Heeding another call from The Prince Charles Hospital, this time for 150 face shields, Mr Giesken also proudly shared that their team, working with other members of the school community, was able to produce the requisite quantity in less than four days.

The school has also successfully assembled full shields, for a coronavirus testing clinic in Brisbane. Using 3D-printed strips, rubber bands and clear acetate sheets used by the school for their overhead projectors, the team was able to assemble full face shields.

Tanya Pilbersek, Shadow Minister for Education, recognised the school’s efforts through social media.

Sustainable and Comfortable

Medical personnel at the Intensive Care Units of hospitals typically have to wear their face shields for at least eight hours on shift, so comfort and protection are important to them. Face shields protect the wearers against droplet infection, more so when used to supplement face masks.

The school printed the plastic strips that are used at the top of the face shields. 3D-printed strips from FGSHS feature a wider strip at the top, each taking almost 4 hours to print.

Shields with a wider band at the top are more comfortable to wear and can be re-used, two important details that frontliners consider very helpful and that Mr Gieskens and his team are particularly proud of.

“In our design department we talk a lot about sustainability and recycling. It meets that ethos really nicely,” he said.

A few days before they started making face shields, school personnel led by Miss Cleary and Miss Durkin, along with Mr Gieskens, had also assembled a team to sew face masks for a local medical surgery.

If you have a 3D printer at home, some PLA material, and want to help, you may email Mr Gieskens at cgies5@eq.edu.au and he will send you the print files.

Likewise, if you are a keen sewer and want to assist in making face masks, please email Mr Gieskens for a pattern and their how-to guide.