From his workshop in NOTL, Rene Bertschi is using his high-tech 3-D printer to produce face shields for health care workers.
“I just saw a need to help our community to protect us from this deadly virus,” Bertschi said.
“So, as an engineer and the owner of 3-D printing equipment, I thought, 'How can I design a face shield like so many health workers around the world are wearing and can I make it locally?”
On one of the first iterations of the shields, he used simple design software to create the face frame and the mounting pegs to attach the protective shield.
One of his main criteria was to make the unit with readily available materials. So he used PLA (polylactic acid) for the frame. PLA is different than most thermoplastic polymers in that it is derived from renewable resources like corn starch or sugar cane, Bertschi said.
He also used transparent foils for the protection guard and rubber bands to holding the face shield on the wearer's head.
Last week, with help from the NOTL Public Library, he supplied 100 face shields to Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General) after that organization put out a call for people with 3-D printers to help.
Now, after consultation with health professionals, he has retooled his design and is making more, some of which may go to hospitals in Niagara.
In the meantime, Bertschi said he has distributed several face shields to neighbours on Shaw's Lane, Willow bBakery, Valu-mart, The Soup Kitchen in Niagara Falls and Simpson's Pharmacy in NOTL.