Utilizing 3D printers in its eight campuses, faculty members and staff of Philippine Science High School (PSHS) collaborate to provide face shields for medical workers and security officers to protect them from COVID-19.
The PSHS SOCCSKSARGEN Region, Central Visayas Region, Main Campus, Ilocos Region, Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas, Southern Mindanao, Caraga Region campuses are simultaneously producing face shields.
Engr. Kevin Daga-as, in-charge of Makerspace, a learning and innovation area where students can come together to design and learn to develop creative projects, started the initiative at the SOCCSKSARGEN Region Campus that eventually became a PSHS System-wide project.
Safety of front liners
“This started when I saw in the news that doctors and nurses are being also hit by the COVID-19 because they lack Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). I began searching online about the market standard design of face shield. Then, I came across a Facebook page on 3D print-for-a-cause,” said Daga-as, an Arts and Design Technology teacher.
According to Daga-as, the SOCCSKSARGEN Region Campus started producing face shields last March 19, after getting a go signal from Campus Director Chuchi Garganera to prioritize medical personnel.
“Considering that none of the doctors in Argao Hospital in Cebu has PPE, we started designing and mass printing upon the approval Campus Director Rachel Luz Rica,” Benito A. Baje, Physics Unit Coordinator and Makerspace in-charge at PSHS - Central Visayas Campus.
The PSHS face shields will be donated to frontline health workers in hospitals, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), City Health units, ambulance team for COVID-19 patient response team, and security personnel in checkpoints.
The improvised face shield can be assembled using 3D printed frame to act as handle and support and acetate sheet to act as shield.
“It took 1.5 hours to finish one frame using the original design. I decided to redesign the frame until I came with a final design that only took 36 minutes to print. It will save my time of printing and Filament, the thermoplastic feedstock for fused deposition modeling 3D printers use,” Daga-as added.
According to Daga-as, to make the face shield frame, we need to slice the design into several horizontal layers and is done with a 3D slicing software like Cura. After the design is ready, the file is uploaded to the 3D printer where a molten plastic is being extruded through a tiny nozzle that moves around precisely under computer control. It prints one layer at a time to the top layer of the design.
“The estimated printing cost per face shield is P15.00 each, including the acetate, 3D printed frame, plus the electricity,” Daga-as said.
Responding to Challenges
PSHS System Executive Director Lilia Habacon already called for assistance through her Facebook post to help the PSHS campuses look for suppliers of acetate and filament so that more face shields can be produced.
According to Bicol Region Campus Director Lorvi Pagorogon, her team is targeting to release 600 face shields for the first batch and to provide shield replacements.
“We have been in contact with doctors of Bicol Medical Center in Naga City and Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Legazpi City. Then, other provincial hospitals in Bicol shall follow, and they will check our design and give feedback how they can better use the face shields,” Pagorogon said.
“Because of the community quarantine, they are having difficulties getting acetate films and 3D Printer filament,” Daga-as said.
According to Baje, they also have some issues with fabrication because of scarcity of materials, and their campus is far from Cebu City which strictly regulates travel due the lockdown.
“In terms of workforce, good thing that some of our faculty members and staff responded to our call for assistance. So far, we have received requests for face shields from different sectors that’s why we are looking for materials and supplies to produce more face shields,” Baje added.
As of March 24, the Philippines now has 552 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease, with the death toll rising to 35, according to the Department of Health.
(Photos courtesy of PSHS - Bicol, Central Visayas, SOCCSKSARGEN Region Campuses and DOH Region 12 nurses)
(Aries N. Oliveros, Executive Assistant)