Alumni Magazine #5_July 2020_single pages web

UJ Library Makerspace develops 3D printed face shields to fight COVID-19

and sanitisers from local and international manufacturers. The global demand for these materials has meant there have been significant delays in delivery, sparking fears that deliveries might be too late to save some of the pandemic’s victims. The protective equipment is being distributed for free to healthcare professionals. A piece of polyethylene sheeting is attached to the visor to act as a protective barrier between healthcare workers and patients. The polyethylene can be either sanitised between uses or replaced. At least 15 shields can be produced each day by the Makerspace lab. However, the team has been working on designs solely involving laser cutting that could increase the rate of production to more than 50 per day. “The equipment is in demand right now as we are being forced to come up with improvised solutions to address the lack of traditional equipment and devices. Also,

this material that we are using is hard to find. The frames for the face shields are made by 3D printers and the shields are laser cut from sheets of old and thick transparencies,” Strauss explained. “One of the unforeseen advantages of these face shields is that they are recycling old transparency sheets that would otherwise be adding to our plastic pollution,” he said. The UJ Library Makerspace professionals teamed up with UJ’s Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE), Health Sciences, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers South Africa section, as well as the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF), which offers 3D printing and other creative technologies. Strauss said although the shields are not made to medical standards, they can be printed on demand for use when better alternatives are not yet available.

​The UJ Library Makerspace team at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have joined efforts to curb the spread the COVID-19 pandemic by developing vital protective face shields. The Makerspace team began using 3D printing and laser cutting equipment to produce surgical face shields in an effort to meet the rapidly growing need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. The UJ Makerspace lab, based on the Doornfontein Campus (DFC), can do prototyping and small- batch production very rapidly and inexpensively, and by the middle of May, 10 shields had been distributed to various campus clinics at the University, with another seven destined for Netcare 911, according to UJ’s Makerspace expert Rudie Strauss. This has alleviated the scramble by state suppliers to secure essential equipment such as ventilators, masks, gloves, respirators



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