OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – It’s especially important for essential employees to stay safe while possibly dealing with people who could be exposed to COVID-19. A couple of universities in Utah are working to provide that effort.
Weber State University and Utah State University are working to make face shields like with 3-D printers for essential workers in Northern Utah.
For Weber State University, it started when essentials employees asked for face masks.
“There was a local need for additional face shields for Weber-Morgan Health Department so we shifted and went from the face masks to the face shields,” said Dr. Jeffrey Clements of Weber State University.
Between the two universities, several hundred face shields have been made and distributed.
“IHC here in Logan, has requested 300, Bear River Health Department initially requested up to 300 if possible and Sunshine Terrace and entities like that have requested at least 20 for their people,” said Utah State University volunteer, Mike Stokes.
“It’s been police, Weber-Morgan Health Department, and they’ve been able to give it to a variety of different clinics and dialysis centers and different locations,” said Clements.
It’s not an easy process. It takes around three to four hours, to make one mask.
“We do them in batches of four on a printer, and then we have like 5 or 6 printers running,” said Clements.
And prototypes are available online, and anyone can print them if they have a 3-D printer. Utah State University’s shields are a little different from Weber State’s.
“We added one inch, so that this brow part is an inch, so when it’s on, it accommodates for glasses,” said Stokes.
Both schools are distributing the shields for free.
“We’ll just keep doing it as long as there’s a need in the community, as long as we can be of assistance, and as long as we have the supplies, we’ll keep making it,” said Clements.
One of the biggest challenges for the universities, is keeping up with supplies like the printing filament. For Weber State, elastic for the back of the shields.