Trinity engineers use 3D printers at home in battle to tackle shortage of PPE

Posted on: 27 April 2020

In response to an urgent public appeal for personal protective equipment (PPE), engineers from Trinity have deployed a number of their 3D printers to produce face shields for front line medical staff tackling the COVID-19 crisis.

While access to Trinity is restricted, Chief Technical Officer in the School of Engineering, Mick Reilly, has relocated six of the School’s 3D Printers to his home in Kildare. From here, he is working together with the PPE-Hub platform founded by BenchSpace in the manufacture of face shields as part of the solution to the national shortage of PPE resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Helped by sons George (10) and Ollie (13), Mick has produced over 1,000 face shield frames to date for the PPE-Hub and a further 300 full face shields, which have been donated to front line medical staff in hospitals, nursing homes and GP practices throughout Dublin and Kildare.

Mick Reilly said:

“Having recently set up a very successful Makerspace and 3D printing facility in the Department of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering for our undergraduate students it would have been a shame not to utilise our resources for this initiative.”

The face shield frames are printed in line with the PPE-Hub protocols, using PLA and PET-G thermoplastic filament materials, which are 100% recyclable and safe for skin contact. The visor is made from 250µm clear PVC transparent sheets, which have been kindly donated by Codex Office Solutions.

The completed frames are collected by regional volunteers from Blood Bikes Ireland and delivered to a central assembly site at the Garyduff Sports Centre, Cork, where members of the Defence Forces are sanitising, assembling and packing the completed PPE face shields.

The face shields are currently in widespread use throughout the community across a number of care settings including community hospitals, nursing homes, paramedics, drug and alcohol services, community nursing and other services.

Manufacture of the face shields will continue as long as there is a demand for them, and it is planned that more of Trinity’s 3D printers will be added to the production line to help meet anticipated future requirements.

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Thomas Deane, Media Relations Officer | | +353 1 896 4685