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Jacksonville 3D printing business creating face shields for healthcare employees

Forge 3D Printing Studio's Bryce Pfanenstiel got involved when his mother needed a face shield to help treat patients in a nursing home.

A small business in Jacksonville is helping healthcare workers amid the coronavirus.

Forge 3D Printing Studio is gathering materials to build face shields.

This business, along with other businesses are making the technology accessible to others.

Bryce Pfanenstiel with Forge 3D printing studio says he got personally involved when his mom, who is a healthcare worker needed a face shield. He’s 3D printing a few face shields for her and others in need.

The process of 3D printing takes time.

For Bryce Pfanenstiel, it’s worth it to make protective equipment for his loved ones.

His mom works at a nursing home in Kentucky.

“She said they’re cutting trapper keeper plastic for face shields, and I said, are you serious?" Pfanenstiel said. "I thought that was absurd,” 

Pfanenstiel and his company are gathering materials to make at least 50 more. He’s not the only one using 3D printing technology and software.

Companies around the world are posting open-source design files for everyone to access as the healthcare field is facing a shortage of personal protective equipment.

The same materials used by equipment manufacturers can be used to make face shields or masks at home.

Pfanenstiel’s prototype could make a difference for someone in need.

“Here’s what we’re able to make, it’s better than nothing," he said. "Here in Florida, we’re like any port in a storm during hurricanes, I think this almost isn’t any different than that." 

"We’re just trying to play our role,” Pfanenstiel said.

Forge says they are planning to post their own computer-aided design file on their website in the future.

Companies like Prusa 3D and HP are publishing open-source design files for public access.

Officials at UF Health are using various hospital materials to make masks for healthcare workers.

Many are also accepting donations of personal protective equipment and other supplies.

According to the CDC, it’s unknown if homemade face shields or masks could protect healthcare workers from COVID-19, but they can be used as a last resort.