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Kilkenny duo 3D printing face shields for workers on the front line of the Covid-19 crisis

With PPE equipment in short supply, more and more 3D printers are joining the cause

Two Kilkenny friends have banded together to 3D print face shields for front-line health workers.

Paddy Brennan, a technology teacher in Carlow and from Castlecomer, and Kilkenny city native Eoin Mulhern have been 3D printing re-usable face shields during the Covid-19 outbreak in Ireland.

Speaking to KCLR on Sunday evening, Paddy outlined how he got involved with the process.

Paddy Brennan wearing one of his 3d-printed face shields
Paddy Brennan wearing one of his 3D-printed face shields.

“I’m at home, I’ve my own 3D printer sitting there and I’ve been off anyways – that sparked the idea. I wondered is there PPE [personal protective equipment] that hospitals will need that might not widely be available?”, said Brennan.

The Castlecomer native is also a coordinator with ETTA, the Engineering Technology Teachers Association where one of his roles is in teaching other teachers how to use 3D printers in a school setting.

“There are groups trying to create ventilators, which is outside my expertise, particle masks, also outside my expertise.”

But not outside his expertise were face shields (as pictured).

3D printing face shields for front-line workers

He used an initial design from 3D printer manufacturer, Prusa before changing up to a Swedish design that is also in use in a number of hospitals in Dublin including St. James’s Hospital and Tallaght Hospital.

The materials used, he explained further, are non porous, make the shields washable with the use of UV light or Milton (or similar), though where they have been in contact with confirmed cases, the advice would be to retain them as single use.

Mulhern, who runs Irishtown-based Recharge Cartridges, says the best way for front-line staff to get their hands on the masks is to just make contact.

“First responders and front-line staff get priority”, he outlined.

“Some hospitals and clinics have been in touch, so once the new delivery arrives – hopefully Tuesday – we’ll be back up and running.”

Finished face shields

While the duo have been offered money for the masks, they’re not looking for it and instead are encouraging a charity donation of “whatever you would have paid for a mask” to a local charity.

The pair are expecting a big delivery of PETG filament early this week to continue the rollout of masks for local businesses and healthcare workers.

To get in touch, contact Recharge Cartridges on Facebook or contact 056 7786493.

Story continues on air on Monday morning.


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