What a whirlwind this has been. Hopefully, it is a once in a life time experience, and not in a good way. We are all going through this. Everyone in the world. There aren’t many events that one could describe as worldwide. I’d say this counts.
Over the past couple of weeks here in Los Angeles (is that all it’s been?!), shelter-in-place has all of us working and schooling from home. The case numbers for COVID-19 are increasing rapidly. Take a look at these screenshots from worldometer.info from March 24 through March 31:
In the midst of this new reality, makers across the world are responding to the call for action. It started with the need in overcrowded hospitals for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) which is in short supply. Companies like Prusa and Budmen Industries were some of the first to create working models of protective face shields and sharing their designs with the wider maker community. These models have already gone through a few iterations so the ones you see below are not the current models even as of this writing. NIH has recently approved the Budmen model for clinical use.
In addition to the face shields, other needed equipment like filtered masks, were also designed and shared. USC Keck hospital, here in Los Angeles, has recently requested 6,000 such masks from any and all that can print them. This mask is a three-part print with a filter that goes inside. USC Keck is accepting the prints and will provide the filter and straps. Here is a link to CrashSpace, a local organization supporting USC in this effort. You can download files and find contact information there.
For those without 3D printers and laser cutters, non-medical masks are also in high demand, not just in hospitals, but for the every day citizen needing to venture out for supplies. JoAnn Fabrics has resources on mask making and is receiving completed masks to help with distribution to local hospitals. I have used the JoAnn method but have added a pipe cleaner inside to create a nose bridge.
I encourage all of you to get involved. There’s no better time than the present. Whether it’s sewing a mask by hand, or 3D printing a filtered mask. We can all play a role and make a contribution. To date, we have donated 51 face shields, 14 filtered masks, and 55 sewn masks. Much more in the days ahead. It may feel small, but every bit helps.
This Google Doc will help you get started.
I chose to get this post out quickly to have a timely historical record of our circumstances. I started this late on March 31. It is now April 2. Here are the most recent numbers.
This is a call to action. Thank you to all the makers out there doing their part. Most importantly, thank you to all the doctors, nurses, and other health personnel working tirelessly to keep us safe and attend to the ill. Off to make more masks!