Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced a new partnership Thursday between San Diego libraries and local hospitals to manufacture face shields for healthcare workers using 3D printers.
This comes after Faulconer signed an executive order to employ additional city resources in the fight against COVID-19. The executive order included San Diego libraries and now, they have partnered with local hospitals and the Francis Parker School to create face shields with their 3D printers.
A Francis Parker School science teacher contacted the supply chain manager for Scripps Health about the idea to use 3D printers to make face shields. They also reached out to other educators at Bishop School and the San Diego Public library who had 3D printers, Faulconer said.
Meanwhile, Georgia Tech had published schematics for manufacturing face shields and shared their blueprints with the public. Our local libraries got those blueprints and used them to create the face shields now being used at our local hospitals, Faulconer said.
"Our library staff at the San Diego Central Library started working directly with both, Scripps and Kaiser Permanente to produce face shields for both hospital systems," Faulconer said.
There are currently, 12 3D printers at the San Diego Central Library that have the capacity to make 50 face shields a day and about 300 a week that will go directly to San Diego hospitals, Faulconer said.
"It takes an average of about two hours to print using materials that cost about $2.50. That's about 50% below the market price," Faulconer said. "We are providing these face shields for free to our local hospitals."
The San Diego Public Library Foundation has pledged to help fund the project including materials to help make the 3D face shields. The foundation will also purchase three more 3D printers, Faulconer said.
"With support from the Library Foundation donors, we're proud to find the additional 3D printers and the materials that are needed to ensure that the 50 PPEs are made each day and reach our healthcare workers," said Patrick Stewart, CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation.
Faulconer also announced the launch of a new website the city created where the public can donate extra items they may have such as gloves, N95 masks, handmade masks, bottles of water, and face shields, to name a few.
"This is how we're going to get through this, as a community," Faulconer said.