Local 3D printers help with medical PPE shortage


The group is 3-D printing medical face shields

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — High-tech help is on the way for some medical professionals in need of personal protective equipment. A group of volunteers has fired up their 3-D printers in order to help those on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.

Everyone knows there is a big shortage of medical equipment nationwide. Connor Weller told KOIN 6 News he realized he could help make some of those supplies himself and got to work.

“A lot of hospitals are doing dangerous procedures without proper equipment and I think that’s absolutely unacceptable,” said Weller, printing organizer and creator of “Cougkie Cutters.”

He said he was moved to fire up his 3-D printers after he read a woman’s post asking for help to secure much-needed medical equipment. “She was looking for help—someone to get some to her,” said Weller. “And I was like, ‘Oh, I have to help out. I’m in Portland. I can do this.'”

A 3-D printer creates a medical face shield to help fill the need for the personal protective equipment shortage. March 2020 (Courtesy Connor Weller)

Weller organized a group of tech-minded 3-D printer enthusiasts across the Pacific Northwest to answer the call.

“I reached out to a local 3-D printing group and they were able to help us out and start ramping up production,” said Weller. Soon, they had printers humming across the northwest, cranking out face shields.

“It’s basically a printed headband, a little protector down here,” Weller described.

He said they delivered their first order of around 150 this week. “Since then, it has exploded,” said Weller. “I think we have two more deliveries go out.”

Doctors try on the face shields printed by a group of volunteers using their 3D printers. March 2020

Weller said he and the printing crew stand ready to deliver more to anyone who needs them.

“If you know someone who needs supplies, let us know, reach out to us, we are happy to help,” said Weller. “We have people all across the Pacific Northwest who want to help.”

Weller is welcoming more volunteers who want to help in the 3-D printing process. He has a website, The PNW Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies Group, where you can connect with the group if you’d like to join or are in need of supplies.

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