Since the national lockdown started on March 25, we have had to navigate uncertain times and unchartered waters. Most of us would have experienced a range of emotions from shock to confusion and everything in between.
For Associate Professor Tim Pasang, he felt a deep sense of responsibility to help in some way, especially when hearing there was a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers. Inspired by an article he read about a man in England using 3D-printing to make medical face shields for health workers, Tim set out to do the same with the help of a fourth year Bachelor of Engineering Honours Mechanical student, Nick van Der Geest.
While he went to work securing funding and access to 3D printers, Nick started designing and printing the head strap for the face shields with a 3D printing machine. By chance, Nick's father Gary owns a company MAG Assembly that supplies protective shields and barriers to clinics and supermarkets so was able to provide the clear screens for the face shields.
On April 4, the first face shield created was given to Shore Care Clinic in the North Shore to test and it was a hit! With the face shields being approved by medical professionals, production shifted into overdrive and Tim and Nick have reached out to North Shore Hospital and medical clinics such as Glenfield Doctors on Chartwell, White Cross and a few others to see if they need face shields.
To date, over 20 face shields have been printed, and Nick continues working hard with two 3D printers operating 24-7 producing four to five face shields every day. Producing these medical-grade face shields is not an easy task as it was important that they were made to a high quality and needed to feel secure and safe for the user, something that is not easy with 3D printed parts.
In a time where it feels there is not a lot that is in our control, it is heartening to see one of our own staff members and students spending time and making a sincere effort to help keep our frontline healthcare workers safe.