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Florida man 3D printing face shields for healthcare workers amid protective gear shortage

The St. Petersburg College faculty member is able to create six shields every four hours.
Credit: Jonathan Barnes

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The shortage of masks and personal protective equipment in the U.S. has healthcare workers expressing their concern, states pushing for more supplies and people at home looking to help in any way that they can.

Including St. Petersburg College Humanities and Fine Arts Chair Jonathan Barnes who is using a 3D printer to create face shields for our healthcare professionals on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: 10-year-old girl sewing face masks during coronavirus crisis

The idea started when Barnes learned his friend, an emergency room physician in Ocala, was looking for PPE. Barnes used his personal 3D printer to create his first round of face shields but knew more was needed to help increase production.

“I quickly realized it wasn’t enough,” Barnes said.

That’s when St. Petersburg College leadership gave Barnes the green light to bring home two printers. Now, Barnes can make six shields every four hours.

RELATED: Harbor Freight to donate all of its personal protective equipment to 24-hour emergency rooms

So far, Barnes has donated more than 30 shields to healthcare workers across the state in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Orlando and Ocala. He’s even sent some up the coast to Maryland.

“The doctor who picked them up yesterday was super excited because the supplies are incredibly limited,” Barnes said. “The feedback from all the doctors has been really positive.”

Barnes plans on continuing his efforts as long as he has materials to do so.

“It seems like the right thing to do,” he said. “Those people are the front-line heroes going into battle without proper equipment.”

RELATED: University of Florida Researchers creating low-cost ventilators

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