Instead of sitting idle while schools are not in session, the Bucks County Intermediate Unit’s (Bucks IU) Mobile Fab Lab has been producing personal protection equipment (PPE) face shields with its 3-D printers and laser cutter.
Led by Dr. Lindsey Sides, Bucks IU supervisor of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) education, the face shields are created from designs shared with the Bucks IU by Cornell University. Once a prototype was completed and approved, production began on April 3rd. The first delivery of 80 masks was made to the Bucks County Emergency Management Operations Center on April 6. At the same time, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, located in Philadelphia, reached out to Sides to see if there was any way they could possibly receive some of these face shields.
As with many medical institutions during this COVID-19 pandemic, patient and staff safety is at the forefront of their concerns and being able to replenish their stock of PPE continues to be a challenge. In line with the Bucks IUs mission of serving children, Sides very quickly agreed to deliver some from the next batch being produced.
“It is our pleasure to be able to gift St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children with these personal protection face shields during these difficult times with the COVID-19 virus” stated Sides. “We are grateful to be able to redirect equipment that would have been idle, to now be used to help others by producing such important pieces of protective equipment.”
Sides, assisted by the Bucks IU Fab Lab Coordinator Megan Boletta, set to work and in just a couple days they were able to produce 75 masks for St. Christopher’s. On Friday, Sides took the time to personally drive into Philadelphia to deliver and present them to the hospital’s Interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) Solomon Torres.
St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children is immensely grateful to the Bucks County Intermediate Unit and its Fab Lab for their fast response, innovative technology, and generous donation of PPE Face Shields.
“Their amazing 3-D printing technology and generosity of spirit warms our hearts,” said Torres. “Within a few short days of our request, they had fabricated face shields that are critical to protecting the health of our employees and patients.”
Dr. Mark Hoffman, Bucks IU Executive Director commented that “Helping children is at the core of an Intermediate Unit’s mission, and we are truly gratified to be able to assist St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in this small way.”
In the spirit of sharing, the Bucks IU’s PPE design instructions are available for others to use so that they may produce just the head piece with a 3-D printer, or to make the whole face shield by using both a 3-D printer and a laser cutter. If anyone is interested in making only the head piece, the Bucks IU will take those and add the front clear protective panel to complete the entire face shield.
Anyone interested in the details can contact Sides at STEAM@BucksIU.org or call her at 215-348-2940 x1460.