Faces of your Force: Defending the First Responders
Published in the Air Force News | Issue 224
An Air Force aircraft technician is doing his part in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 by donating his time and materials to make 3D printed face shields, which are donated to essential workers.
Leading Aircraftman (LAC) Hayden Cleminson registered with the Shields Up organisation, which is a group of volunteers who give their time, effort and resources to produce and distribute clear face shields.
The visor is made up of the clear vinyl front, a hard frame and elastic band. The clear visor is produced by companies who have volunteered their laser cutters which cut the PVC or PET plastic sheets to size and punch holes for mounting to the frame.
Members of the public who owned 3D printers were encouraged to register and make the hard frames.
LAC Cleminson said he found out about the organisation after seeing them on the news. He registered, downloaded the design and used some extra material he had at home to make the frames.
“There’s obviously a big shortage of these shields worldwide. When I heard about Shields Up I was spending more time at home with the lockdown and I had my 3D printer that wasn’t being used all the time. I thought I might as well put it to use and that way I could contribute something to the cause.”
“Some people were donating money, some people were donating their services and time and I thought this was something I could offer.”
Originally LAC Cleminson used material from his own supply, because he could not get access to more during the Alert Level 4 lockdown.
“As the weeks went by, some companies were able to donate material and I could register to go in and pick it up. I managed to get my hands on a couple of rolls to help with what I was doing because I ran out of my own material.”
Each printed part takes about 50 minutes to get a strong, sturdy result, he said.
“Once I printed the parts I put in a request for the visors and elastic to be sent to me and I assembled the pieces together. There was also a hub people could send their parts to, to be assembled.”
The shields were then distributed to first line responders at hospitals, medical practices and to caregivers.
“Initially there was a backlog as 25,000 orders of the shields were placed. They were a bit overwhelmed by how many were wanted, but as progress ramped up the orders were filled.”
LAC Cleminson has made and assembled about 70 shields over the past few weeks.
“I had a few problems at the start getting my printer set up and making them strong enough. After I’d perfected my technique, I was able to programme the printer and it would do its thing.
“They are a pretty simple thing to make. Once they were put together and gone it was good knowing they were being used for people who needed them and would make them feel a little more comfortable.”