Science Engineering Firm Launches ‘Operation Face Shield’


A science and engineering technology company has found a new use for their 3D printers and laser cutters — Operation Face Shield, designed to provide local medical workers with protection against COVID-19.

In Tucson, four scientists and engineers made use of their equipment’s evening downtime by creating face shields to medical specifications. After tweaking their original design and making a few prototypes, the team found they could produce up to 70 masks and associated instructions each week, package them appropriately, and have them delivered.

Operation Face Shield set about finding and ordering materials to make the shields. The team also navigated appropriate rules and regulations for donating medical supplies.

On April 8th, the first delivery of 24 face shield kits went to St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson and 20 went to Mercy Gilbert Medical Center near Phoenix. A handful of local doctors’ and dentists’ offices also benefited from the first Areté face shields. Operation Face Shield continues to make regular deliveries.

Meanwhile, the staff shared directions to create the face shields with online 3D printing community and the National Institutes of Health, so that virtually anyone around the world can duplicate Areté’s efforts using 3D printers and laser cutters. Operation Face Shield Tucson includes Paul Eason, John Hunt, Todd Baker, and Matt Wilhelm, joined by other Aretesians including Heather Decker.

One of the people using Tucson’s designs is Justin Peel, an engineer at Areté in Arlington, VA. Justin, who also volunteers as a firefighter/EMT with the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department, has printed face masks for the department, tweaking the original design for EMT workers.

Areté is a science and engineering firm that creates a broad range of software, sensors, and integrated systems that protect the United States from seafloor to space. Areté has seven locations throughout the United States.

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