Marymount professor creates reusable face shields for hospital workers

face shields elmhurst hospital
Medical staff at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York show off the 3D printed face shields they received from Marymount University. (Courtesy Marymount University)

A professor at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, is using his talents in 3D printing to make reusable face shields for hospital workers dealing with the coronavirus pandemic throughout the country.

Marymount announced that Eric Bubar, a professor of biology and physical sciences, has moved away from printing upper-limb assistive devices to begin producing face shields as the spread of COVID-19 has intensified.

“It’s a large effort with lots of people involved, one that was basically built up over a weekend,” Bubar said.

“Coronavirus moves fast, but so does our response to it.”

While not the “ideal solution,” Bubar, who has a doctorate, said the shield give an extra layer of protection for health care workers until large-scale manufacturing of personal protective equipment meets the overwhelming demand.

Bubar’s masks have been made possible with the help of open-sourced designs from Prusa Research, done in conjunction with the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Health and another by Swedish-based firm Verkstan.

A former student of Bubar’s who now works in an ophthalmology office tested the face shields different models, Marymount said.

The university said that it made a donation to support the costs of the materials needed and Interior Design professors provided their own printing expertise and industry connections.

That assistance gave Bubar more time to collaborate with Nova Labs, a makerspace located in Reston, Va., which is providing laser-cutting services to make the clear shield pieces in bulk, the university said.

A partnership with the D.C. chapter of Enabling Future, an international community of volunteers who deliver 3D-printed prosthetics to those in need, has sent a total of 250 face shields to spots locally and nationally.

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Virginia locales such as Arlington, Annandale and Woodbridge have received the face shields along with regional neighbors in Hyattsville, Md., and D.C.

Distribution has spanned up the eastern seaboard and western states, with face-masks sent to New York City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, Nevada, Florida and California.

Bubar’s efforts have caught the eye of politicians, alumni and students alike.

The university said that Rockville attorney and former Maryland Delegate Maricé Morales worked to get the face shields sent to the Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York, where her sister works in the intensive care unit.

Marymount said that alumnus Philip Bui is helping to ship 100 face shields to providers in New York City and current student Eric Malani has offered to print the face shields on his own 3D printer at home.

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Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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