At Universal Orlando, 3D printers are normally used in a variety of ways from prototyping models to making small components like Volcano Bay’s Tapu Tapu wristbands. Jessica Harned, supervisor of advanced resort technology in the parks technology department at Universal Orlando Resort knew that technology could be used for much more. On March 28th, she sent a text to her boss that said, “What do you think of us 3D printing face-shields to donate to our local medical facilities?”
Since then, Universal Orlando Team Members have donated over 1,300 face-shield bands to healthcare workers in Central Florida.
For weeks leading up to that initial text, Jessica had seen posts in her social media newsfeed about different grassroots efforts of those responding to COVID-19 by putting their 3D printer to work. Jessica set out to see what all would be needed to pull this off. She found a website with an open-source design for the headband, did a few test prints, experimented with different shielding options, and eventually contacted Scott Bond, the senior director of the innovation lab for the AdventHealth Nicholson Center.
“The biggest way that COVID-19 is spread is through droplets,” Scott says. “In order to protect our workforce, our clinical teams — and even non-clinical teams, we have people that are screening at the front doors — they need protection. While the N95 masks are extremely vital and important, they don’t protect the eyes or fully seal the nose. So if a patient coughs or sneezes, we need these shields to protect the entire face.”
Once Jessica was able to get in touch with Scott and realize the test prints she was doing matched the needs of AdventHealth, things started moving fast. And for good reason, the number of needed masks that Scott mentioned to Jessica in that initial conversation was 20,000. At that point, Jessica and her three 3D printers could produce about 40 headbands a day if they were printing continuously.
While her 40 headbands a day production would have made a dent in the process, Jessica began recruiting. With all of these different Team Members hard at work printing, the dent being made in that 20,000 number is growing every day. Jessica has been overseeing social-distance pickups of everyone’s contribution and managing the quality-control and cleaning portion of the operation.
Once Jessica drops off the 3D printed headbands, Scott’s team at AdventHealth assembles all the parts that make up the whole and delivers the completed face-shields to campuses throughout Central Florida. With the help of Universal Orlando and other partners throughout the city, 1,500 total face-shields have been contributed as of April 15.
“I think all of us are feeling how personally rewarding it is to be a part of this initiative,” Scott says. “But then to see the community that we live in and the response so many have had to step up in a time of need. I mean you’ve got Universal providing parts to clinical teams. That’s not something they typically do, but everybody wants to pitch in and help. That 20,000 number is significant, so the faster we get there the better.”
If you are interested in what you can do to pitch in and help to get vital personal prevention equipment to healthcare workers, please check out this resource for AdventHealth or this resource for nationwide options.