QUINCY (CBS) — A group of engineers is making face shields from their homes, and will donate them to South Shore Hospital.
The idea first came to aerospace engineer Jeff Diep about two weeks ago. He heard on the radio that a surge in cases was expected, and many medical workers didn’t have the necessary protective equipment to stay safe.
“They are on the front lines, they have to get the right tool,” Diep said.
So he reached out to fellow engineers David Kindler and Ngoc “Rich” Tran to see if they could come up with a design for a mask that would help. Within a few hours, they had several prototypes.
Kindler, a mechanical engineer says it’s a “really simple face shield that doesn’t involve 3D printing, and we could use a simple plastic sheet.”
They were able to get a surplus roll of PTE plastic from Prysm in Concord where they all used to be co-workers.
“It’s the same material that Coke bottles are made of,” Kindler said. “It’s a good, high clarity, high strength material.”
Tran, a process engineer, then helped come up with a way to mass produce the shields from their homes, and they needed to be made quickly.
“We need it now,” Tran said. “Not like five months from now.”
When Diep took a prototype to South Shore Hospital to see if they could use some of the face shields, he was blown away by the response. “They said, ‘We need 10,000 face shields.’”
So they all got to work this weekend, each hoping to make 200 by Monday. It’s far short of the 10,000 needed by the hospital, so the group is hoping to bring on more help.
Kindler said they will provide a kit, including all the materials, to make 200 masks to anyone who wants to join the effort.
“If a family wants to pitch in and have something to do as a family activity, it’s a great thing to do,” he said.
The engineers said they ideally need 12-inch wide rolls of plastic sheet stock. They are hoping a manufacturing company can step in to help them with the process of cutting the material down from 60-inch rolls.
Diep also created a GoFundMe page to help fund the efforts.