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Tampa Bay area locals creating thousands of face shields for healthcare workers using 3D printers

Posted at 5:24 AM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 08:01:37-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- As the need to protect healthcare workers with personal protection equipment grows, people across the Tampa Bay area are pitching in by using their 3D printers to create face shields.

"It just kind of escalated from just doing a couple online and being like what can we do to help," said face shield maker Jennifer Carter. "To alright, we've got a tone of demand as things are unfortunately getting little worse here."

Jennifer Carter's friend asked her to join the Facebook group, Print the Curve Flat, where hundreds of people across the country are using their 3D printers to create face shields for hospital staff battling COVID-19.

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"The majority of it is just people like us. My husband and I are just two folks who had 3D printers, and we're like what can we do to help?" said Carter.

Timing varies from machine to machine, but for Carter, it takes her more than an hour to create two face shields.

The 3D printer creates the headpiece, and then they attach binder cover sheets to the pegs.

Carter is in charge of the makers in the Tampa Bay area. So far, they've created 3,500 shields for local hospitals and essential workers.

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They're working on about 1,500 more this week.

"I can't say enough good things. I mean I am just so touched. It's wonderful that so many people are willing to volunteer their time because almost all of us are doing this out of pocket," said Carter.

More hospitals are reaching out to the group to request shields, and the demand is increasing rapidly.

"The biggest issue we're starting to run into, of course, because so many people are doing this, prices are starting to rise," said Carter.

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The group is asking anyone with a 3D printer or acrylic cutters to help so they can supply hospitals with what they need. They're also asking for donations like binder cover sheets.

"Those things are starting to get scarce, and we definitely need them for sure," said Carter.

In a few weeks, the group has already been able to help so many people— something Carter says she never expected.

"I get a little choked up. It's just the best of humanity coming out, and I'm really honored to be a part of it," said Carter.

If you want to help, send a message to the group on their Facebook page, Print the Curve Flat.