3D Printer Used to Fight COVID-19

Talent and innovation key to creating critical component for face shields

Amid the global pandemic impacting the health and safety of frontline health-care workers and first responders, the demand for proper protective equipment has never been higher. What started as a hobby for Jirapa Skolnakorn, Ovintiv™ senior petrophysicist, has evolved into a skill that will help on the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19. Using her 3D printer, Skolnakorn has been creating key components for the face shields of frontline health-care workers and first responders.

When proper protective equipment for frontline health-care workers became scarce, TXRX Labs, a non-profit makerspace community in Houston, shifted their focus to make face shields and help meet the demand. TXRX is a diverse network made-up of creators, artists and inventors that coupled with tools and knowledge, enable dreams to become reality.

As an active member of the 3D printing community, Skolnakorn heard the call to help and quickly went to work turning an ambition into a reality.

Skolnakorn has been running her 3D printer seven days a week, from 6 a.m. each morning until 10 p.m. each night, to create the headband piece for protective face shields. Her goal is to print five quality headbands a day while she continues her daily work from home. To date, she has contributed to the creation of more than 50 protective face shields and has no plans of slowing down while the demand remains.

“My mom is a retired intensive care unit and critical care unit nurse. I understand the critical role frontline health-care workers are playing in the fight against COVID-19 and empathize with the stress they are under,” said Skolnakorn. “I didn’t hesitate to do my part to help out my community.”

TXRX Labs cuts the plastic section of the face shield and assembles the various pieces in their workshop. From there, the face shields undergo quality control, are fully sanitized and then packed for delivery to medical professionals and first responders. Collectively, the group of volunteers is aiming to fill a 10,000-unit order from Memorial Herman Health Systems in Houston.

If you have a 3D printer and want to get involved, you can reach out to TXRX Labs in Houston or seek out a makerspace community in your city.