Airmen 3D print face shields to prevent COVID-19 spread

DOVER – While experts search for vaccines and other alleviating schemes during the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, airmen at Dover Air Force Base have utilized available resources to provide another level of protection to those working on the base – 3D printing of face shields.

It is just another of the numerous precautions Dover AFB has taken to aid in mitigating the spread of the virus and protect the community.

Recently the Dover AFB innovation lab, BEDROCK, began 3D printing face shields in a continued effort to protect airmen and community members from COVID-19 spread.

So far, more than 70 face shields were printed by the small team of airmen at BEDROCK – the air base’s Innovation Lab – and were distributed to members of the 436th Medical Group, who are at the forefront of Dover AFB’s efforts to stop the spread.

“It feels great to be able to contribute rather than sit around and wait,” said Master Sgt. Justin Pittman, Innovation Lab senior project manager. “We reached out and people said they wanted (the face shields).”

So, Master Sgt. Pittman’s team began taking requests and handing out completed masks as soon as possible.

Depending on supplies, Master Sgt. Pittman said BEDROCK can produce up to 20 face shields each day. The shields are made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic that’s chemically resistant and reusable. Shields include a thin plastic visor and elastic headband which allows for a flexible fit.

While airmen at the Innovation Lab are constantly melding individual ideas together to produce cost-effective products used around the base, Master Sgt. Pittman said producing face shields was a total team effort.

He said, “The team functions like a well-oiled machine,” where every member of the team has a specific function they complete in the process. Members are taking order requests, acquiring print files and ordering supplies for future orders.

Once additional shields are printed, they will be distributed to units around the base, prioritizing those who work in close proximity with personnel.

For base-specific information about COVID-19, visit www.dover.af.mil/Coronavirus. For additional questions, email 436AW.PA@us.af.mil


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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