Indian student volunteering to make 3D printed face shields in Ottawa


By Shiv Chopra

During these times of fear and anxiety, there is not much each person can do to help, much less help the brave frontline healthcare workers. That didn’t deter Ishaan Pathania from stepping forward. He is helping to 3D print thousands of face shields to provide safety to the people putting their lives on the line. As we know, there have been severe shortages of PPE, personal protective equipment, forcing doctors and nurses to reuse masks and forgo face shields altogether. Ishaan’s work could end up saving the lives of many healthcare workers.

Ever during his college days, Ishaan had a basic 3D printer at home in Jalandhar.  After completing his B Tech in Civil Engineering from Punjab University in Patiala, he is currently studying for his Maters in  Civil Engineering at Carleton University in  Ottawa, Canada.

Ishaan told The South Asian Times that  printing face shields using 3D printers  started with a guy named Josef Prusa, who owns a 3D printer manufacturing company in Prague, Czech Republic. He started making face shields for frontline workers at his printer farm, which started a global movement for others to do the same. Ishaan knew that the University of Ottawa, where many of his classes were held, has a Makerspace with over forty 3D printers. He reached out to them asking if he could use the printers to print face shields and realized that they were already in the process of doing the same.

So, Ishaan joined the team at uOttawa Richard L’Abbé Makerspace where a whole team of staff and student volunteers of University of Ottawa as well as Carleton University are working diligently to produce the face shields. By now they have produced and distributed over 5,000 face shields.

The shields are produced by first 3D printing the headbands, the design for which was developed by Makerspace. The actual transparent shield part is made by cutting large polycarbonate sheets to the correct size and shape by using a CNC router, a computer-controlled cutting machine. The pieces of the sheet are then heated allowing a press to bend them to the curved shape. Hundreds of other designs for the bands are available on the internet and local community members with 3D printers in Ottawa are printing headbands and bringing them to the Makerspace to be assembled.

Ishaan has been volunteering his time at the Makerspace and has been pivotal in the whole process of creating and assembling the face shields. He notes that he wants to do more and so he has ordered a printer and supplies so that he can produce many more face shields on his own as well.

He also notes that this is a global effort and people with 3d printers at home are using them day and night to produce face shields everywhere from USA to Canada to Germany to India. Even people without printers or other machines are helping by donating resources to those individuals with printers, so that they can continue making face shields as long as they are needed.

Head bands and plastic face shields

Image courtesy of thesatimes |

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