Dover Air Force Base printing 3D face shields to fight the spread of coronavirus

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A 3D printer creates face shield adjustable headbands on April 7, 2020 at Dover Air Force Bace, Delaware. The face shields were printed by the 436th Airlift Wing Innovation Lab “Bedrock” for use by medical and security forces personnel supporting COVID-19 response efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Harding) 

As the country and the State of Delaware continue to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Dover Air Force Base is taking steps to mitigate the spread of the virus by producing 3D printed face shields.

As experts search for vaccines and other alleviating methods, Airmen at Dover AFB have utilized available resources to provide another level of protection to those working on the base.

Recently the Dover AFB innovation lab, BEDROCK, began printing 3D face shields in a continued effort to protect Airmen and community members from the spread of the virus.

So far, more than 70 face shields were printed by the small team of X Airmen at BEDROCK, and were distributed to members of the 436th Medical Group, who are at the forefront of Dover AFB’s efforts to stop the spread.

“It feels great to be able to contribute rather than sit around and wait,” said Master Sgt. Justin Pittman, Innovation Lab senior project manager. “We reached out and people said they wanted (the face shields).”

So Pittman’s team began taking requests and handing out completed masks as soon as possible.

Depending on supplies, Pittman said BEDROCK can produce up to 20 face shields each day. The shields are made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic that’s chemically resistant and reusable. Shields include a thin plastic visor and elastic headband which allows for a flexible fit.

While Airmen at the innovation lab are constantly melding individual ideas together to produce cost-effective products used around the base, Pittman said producing face shields was a total team effort.

Members are taking order requests, acquiring print files and ordering supplies for future orders.

Once additional shields are printed, they will be distributed to units around the base, prioritizing those who work in close proximity with personnel.