MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida International University and Baptist Health South Florida are using 3D printing technology to make reusable face shields for health workers treating patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

Face shields are part of the personal protective equipment that healthcare workers wear when caring for patients who have or are suspected to have COVID-19, however, there is a shortage.

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In response, FIU’S College of Communication, Architecture, + The Arts partnered with Baptist Health to make reusable face shields.

3D-printed face shields for healthcare workers at Baptist Health (Courtesy: FIU)

More than 30 3D  printers are being used to make a minimum of 1,000 face shields for Baptist Health, which has 11 hospitals and more than 150 urgent care centers and physician offices in the four-county area from Monroe to Palm Beach counties.

“As a university we wanted to find a way to leverage the skills, talent and resources of our students, faculty and staff to help these hard-working heroes who are risking their lives to save ours,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “I’m proud of our collaboration with Baptist Health and hope it will pave the way for more opportunities to make a difference during these difficult times.”

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3D-printed face shields for healthcare workers at Baptist Health (Courtesy: FIU)

The first printing of the prototype shields began on Saturday, March 21 and the first batch is being sent to Baptist Health South Florida on Saturday, March 28 for use in their hospitals.

Students worked with Baptist Health leaders to ensure the specifications of the face shields were appropriate for patient care.

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The face shields, made from non-toxic PLA (polylactic acid), are meant to act as a first line of defense for healthcare workers. With the shortage of masks, the shield is worn over the mask to preserve their longevity as well as prevent infected respiratory droplets from entering workers’ nose and eyes.