Barry Maxwell is giving away his medical face shields for free to individuals, hospitals and medical offices.
As the coronavirus continues to spread more and more throughout the United States, Barry Maxwell is doing his part to help professionals in the medical field. The Winter Garden resident is temporarily suspending his hobby of printing children’s 3D prosthetic hands so he can tackle another important project: printing 3D medical face shields.
He is making these face shields available to medical offices, hospitals, nursing homes and individuals in response to a growing need for them in recent weeks.
“All I was trying to do was to help out people, and it’s really exploded,” Maxwell said last week.
The two 3D printers in his home office have been running 24 hours a day for more than a week to try to keep up with the demand. The requests have been increasing rapidly as word spreads about his face shields.
Deliveries and pickups have been constant.
“I have friends in the medical profession, and they just don’t have these,” Maxwell said. “Everybody’s talking about N95 (respirator) masks, but I can’t print that product. But this is something that’s needed, and it’s something I can put together relatively quickly.”
Maxwell can make between 14 and 20 each day. Since he started about 10 days ago, he has been contacted by several large companies with 3D printers that want to get involved. More help means a quicker turn-around for getting the face shields distributed to those who need them, he said. As of Sunday, 20 printers were turning out the face shields.
“The folks who use 3D printers have pretty much jumped on this worldwide,” Maxwell said. “I’m one of a bunch. It’s not necessarily an organized thing, but people are jumping in and doing it.”
Since his story was aired on national television, requests have come from as far away as Alaska.
Requests for more than 300 face shields have been made.
The face shields are made of four parts: the shield, fitted between a headband at the top and a connector piece at the bottom, and the elastic strap to hold it on the person’s head.
The headband and bottom piece make up the printed component, and the shield is cut from 10mil acetate sheets.
It’s getting increasingly more difficult to obtain the parts, Maxwell said, especially the plastic filament that typically is sourced from China, where factories were shut down in an attempt to curb the virus’ spread. Amazon currently has a one-month delivery time, and that’s if the product is in stock.
“I’m making them out of whatever color I can get,” Maxwell said. “I’ve done pink, white, red, blue; it’s basically whatever filament that I get my hands on.”
His neighbors are assisting with the project, cutting the face shields with Cricut machines. On the West Coast, Maxwell’s brother, Duane, is working on the same project.
A website has been set up to give medical professionals a centralized place to make requests: wgfaceshields.com. This week, a $25,000 grant was provided to Maxwell for supplies and shipping.
Maxwell, a defense contractor, said his plan is to continue printing the face shields until they are no longer needed. Then, he will return to his regular hobby of printing prosthetic hands for children around the world.
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