Sudbury community 3D prints headbands for face shields

April 02, 2020 — Local Community

In this time of need, many local Sudburians, academics, and businesses are coming together to support Health Sciences North (HSN) in their response to COVID-19. Gisele Roberts is the Manager of Innovation and Commercialization with the Laurentian University Office of the Vice President, Research. She manages the Fielding Innovation Space and the makerspace on the university campus. Roberts reached out to see how her team could offer any support: the makerspace is equipped with 3D printing, 3D scanning, laser cutting capabilities, and more. They’re now playing a key role in fulfilling the potential need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers at HSN.

Roberts was already taking inventory of the supplies and equipment at the university and community partners when she heard from Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) that HSN was in need of face shields. Face shields are part of the recommended PPE for healthcare workers who may be exposed to COVID-19 through the course of their work. NOSM recommended a 3D printed face shield headband design from 3D Verkstan, a Swedish 3D printing company. They designed a simple, open source 3D printed headband that can be produced rapidly to make face shields. Not only can the headband be printed quickly, but its design aligns with the spacing of a three-hole punch, allowing for a multitude of materials to be used for the shield itself, even “something as simple as a clear plastic report cover,” said Roberts. 

“I asked our inventory partners if they could help out and everyone said yes. Since that time, I have also reached out to high schools and a couple of industry partners in the community. I haven’t received a single no or a request to be reimbursed,” said Roberts. In the past days, she has mobilized 3D printing expertise within the Sudbury community to contribute to this initiative, including some SNOLAB staff who own 3D printers. 3D printing facilities across Sudbury are now manufacturing these face shield headbands. In addition to the makerspace, LU Engineering, NOSM, Cambrian College, Collège Boréal, Science North, Lively District and Lo-Ellen Park Secondary Schools, and industry partners Ionic Mechatronics, SHYFTinc, and Hard-Line have all joined in the effort. 

Image: Collège Boréal

Production of the headbands started on March 30 and Roberts has already delivered the first 300 headbands from these partners to HSN, where they will be assembled. She expects a couple hundred more to be ready for delivery by Friday.

Chelsea Pike and Jenna Saffin