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Makers Wanted: Print PPE for NYC Now

When a Make: reader asked how to help his hometown of New York City fight Covid-19, we connected him with NYCMakesPPE.com, a coalition of New York makerspaces and fabrication shops who are cranking out face shields and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for their city’s beleaguered health workers. If you’ve got 3D printers and are able to help New York, they’re asking for all the help they can get right now. (And anyone can donate to their GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the effort.)

I asked organizer Jake H. Lee at Columbia University exactly what’s needed. Jake writes:

If you have more than 50 3Dverkstan North America V3 headbands and you want to donate them to NYCMakesPPE (nycmakesppe.com), please follow the following instructions:

1. You must wear full PPE (masks and gloves) while manufacturing and handling each part.
2. Please bag each individual part, or at least 2~5 parts, immediately in a sealed, airtight bag (e.g. ziplock). This ensures that no contamination occurs during transit, and that if contamination does occur, the entire batch is not compromised.
3. Please “tag” each bag (e.g. sharpie on it) with the date and time at which the part inside was manufactured. This allows us to use the part after a 2~3 day buffer to avoid contamination.

and contact Jake Lee at jake.h.lee AT columbia.edu for shipping instructions.

NYCMakesPPE is a joint effort of NYC Resistor, HackManhattan, Makerspace NYC, fat cat FAB LAB, Columbia University Makerspace, Columbia University, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York University, CCNY CUNY ASRC, Pratt Institute, Voodoo Manufacturing, Bantam Tools, Skilled Laborers Brigade, SHoP Architects, and Mediprint. They’ve delivered thousands of masks and shields to health workers, with thousands more on the way.

Why the 3DVerkstan design? It may not be the pinnacle of protection, but it’s fast to make and it’s reusable for wearers. Jake says, “It prints in 40 minutes, doesn’t require elastic, is compatible with letter sized transparencies, and is easy to flat-pack and ship. NYC’s main issue now is volume, unfortunately.”

By comparison the Wisconsin face shield design, while even quicker to make, is disposable because it uses foam padding that can’t be sanitized.

The instructions on the NCYMakesPPE site reiterate Prusa Research’s excellent advice about taking safety precautions while you make PPE: “Act as if you were infected by the COVID-19 virus. Wear a face mask and a fresh pair of gloves when collecting each batch of printed parts. Store the parts immediately in a sealable bag.”