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La Junta Couple Use 3D Printer to Help Battle COVID-19

Local community members are joining the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak using 3D printers to make face shields for health care workers in desperate need of protective gear. The shields are worn over the face masks to extend the usage of face masks and they also provide additional protection because they cover the eyes.


Jaron Hinkley and Jessie Klein of La Junta started making the DIY face shields after hearing Governor Polis call out for help from the 3D Printing community to assist the state’s healthcare workers by making these face shields at home. Hinkley took that information and started exploring designs to make it happen using the 3D printers he uses for robotics and farm-related IT solutions in his business, Barn Owl Drone Services. He found a design by the Swedish designer 3DVerkstan and got to work.

“We just wanted to provide our healthcare providers with the supplies they need to serve our community,” said Jessie Klein, who works in La Junta as a business consultant for Total Office. “Now we have to-date delivered 250 face shields, including many to nurses at AVRMC.”


3D Printed face shield. (Photo by Face Shields for Essentials)


To increase outreach, Klein created a Facebook page called “Face Shields for Essentials”, and the need has become apparent as many healthcare workers and facility managers posted to their Facebook page with requests for the face shields.


The face shields are made from plastic materials for 3D printers called filament and heavyweight projector transparency film. Each face shield takes an average of two hours to print and assemble, and Hinkley and Klein deliver them to places in need.


“This morning we were able to deliver 20 face shields to Pioneer Health Care Center. We couldn't do it without your help,” Face Shields for Essentials said in a Facebook post on Monday. In one photo shared by the page, medical staff at AVRMC posed while wearing their new clear face shields.

By late Monday, they had requests for nearly 600 of their face shields. They are eager to expand their efforts and provide these to every medical facility in southeast Colorado. “We are printing as fast as we can, currently making 16-20 each day. We’re learning new methods to up our prints and with a new printer on the way we should be able to make 30 each day,” Klein said. “We will continue to help as long as we’re needed. Then if we’re lucky enough to have more than we need we can see who else needs help and what other needs we can fill.”

The Face Shields for Essentials group has received numerous cash donations from community members as well as a donation from the Rocky Ford School District of nearly 1,000 sheets of transparency film used for the shield. If anyone is interested in donating, Face Shields for Essentials has set up a PayPal account to receive donations. You can find more information on Facebook or by emailing face.shields.for.essentials@gmail.com.

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