Bundaberg’s Jabiru Aircraft has created face shields with the help of 3D printing to provide extra protection for frontline workers dealing with Covid-19 cases.
Bundaberg’s Jabiru Aircraft Pty Ltd, whose business usually focuses on producing light sport aircraft and engines, has responded to the current pandemic crisis by creating face shields utilising 3D printing technology to provide extra protection to frontline health workers dealing with Covid-19 cases.
With these efforts Jabiru Aircraft joins other manufacturing entities and individuals around the world in producing emergency Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during a time of global shortage.
Jabiru Aircraft Business Manager Sue Woods said last Friday she and an employee, engineer Alex Swan, were looking at ways to support health care workers during the current public health situation, and with a little ingenuity and the help of a 3D printer they were able to design and commence the manufacture of the PPE.
Sue said they were very concerned for the wellbeing of paramedics, GPs and medical personnel who were most at risk of contracting the virus.
They hoped the extra layer of protection offered by the face shield would keep these essential people healthy.
Both Sue and Alex have family members who work in healthcare, and they were on the same path of thinking – wanting to ensure not only their loved ones stayed safe, but also others facing the Coronavirus firsthand.
3D printers used to create face shields
“I came to work one day after watching footage on the shortage of PPE and thought ‘what can we do'?” Sue said.
“Alex experimented with cutting the visor section until we had the right shape and he modified the headband 3D file to accommodate glasses underneath.
“We then had both a local dentist and a local doctor try the face shields, and check with sterilising products, and we had good response.”
Two 3D printers are used by Jabiru Aircraft to create the head band for the face shield and the transparent polycarbonate for the visor is cut to shape with a flatbed CNC router.
“Our engineer Alex Swan has been very motivated with this project and volunteered much of his own time, getting up in the middle of the night to keep the 3D printers going 24/7,” Sue said.
“We have two 3D printers and Alex took them home so he could get up at 2am to press the button to start the next headband.”
Sue said it took less than a week to develop the idea and start production of the face shields, and they hope to have 100 finished and shipped to paramedics in Western Australia by Monday.
She said the slowest part of the production was the 3D printing and she was thankful for the support from other local organisations who offered assistance.
“To increase our production rate of the 3D printed component, CQUniversity Bundaberg and Gladstone and Makerspace Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, along with CQUniversity Makerspace have jumped on board very quickly, and we now have several additional 3D printers in action,” she said.
“We are also getting offers of assistance from schools in the local community.”
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