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Friday, May 14, 2021

3D printers provide PPE solution

A Canberra man is part of a global movement using 3D printers to create face shields in a stop-gap measure to protect health workers.

With a worldwide shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE), David Jacquier has delivered about 50 shields into the community. He has been inspired to give back while on hiatus from Trove Canberra, which is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I had an appointment with my GP and said I’m making these things and asked how they were placed for face shields,” he said. “I made my first prototype for them and they were very happy with them.”

Mr Jacquier has supplied three general practices, two dentists, a pharmacy and a vet. He has also provided face shields for cancer patients who have to go in to hospital regularly for treatments.

“I like the idea of being able to offer something back to the community,” he said.

Mr Jacquier said many of the businesses have PPE on backorder “but they weren’t turning up”, so his face shields are essentially a “stop-gap before real PPE arrives”.

Although the face shields are not medical grade, he said the extra protection they provide has been welcomed. Feedback from one medical practitioner acknowledged that while they are not tested to PPE standard, “common sense needs to prevail. A barrier is a barrier”.

Initially, Mr Jacquier started making the shields as he had the means, and saw a need, before finding that there was a global movement working towards a similar goal.

In Australia, the Open Source COVID-19 Medical Supplies (Australia) Facebook group is assisting with emergency medical supplies. Mr Jacquier is also part of the Personal Protective Equipment Rapid Deployment (PPERD) team who have worked to provide a face shield that can be easily and rapidly produced using readily available products.

“The idea is that we’ve published our models so if someone gets in touch with us, we can link them with a local maker,” Mr Jacquier said. “We have a few different models as well. Some everyone can print and some high-end ones.”

Requests for face shields can be made through pperd.com.au and donations are encouraged; just $20 can get 10 face shields into the community.

Another group giving back is the Canberra DIY 3D Printing Group, which has also been busy creating face shields. According to their Facebook page, they donated over 300 face shields to Canberra Hospital over the Easter long weekend. Their shields have also been delivered to Bega Hospital.

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