Shields and Masks – Week One(ish)

We’ve got a progress report on our MMS Face Shield project. We started cutting frames for face shield about a week ago in an effort to fill the gap in the supply of PPE going to hospitals and health care clinics in the Milwaukee area. Our total as of Friday was about 2,000 frames for face shields cut on the CNC routers we have access to at ABC Woodworking.

We’re cutting more each day, and plan to add an additional two spindles to the gantry of the primary CNC router so it can cut three at one time. Meanwhile our friends at KAPCO Metal Stamping are able to stamp out 20,000 of the clear front shield parts to go with the frames.

Our GoFundMe campaign has raised over $12,000 so far, and we should be doing injection molding of the frames in less than two weeks. That will do two things: dramatically speed up the process of creating face shields, and reduce the cost of material per shield. (We are estimating close to 1/10 the cost of plastic used in the injection molded version.) With the ability to increase volume, we hope to expand beyond front line medical workers if their needs are met, and examine providing face shields to essential workers as well and investigate reaching outside the Milwaukee area. (We’ve already gotten requests from friends in other states as well.)

Now, if the face shield market gets completely saturated and we don’t need as many (which is a good thing!) we’ll be looking at what else we can do. Speaking of diversifying, we’ve also got a group of members who are sewing masks. Dan and Hapto put together 130 mask kits to distribute to members (in a non-contact fashion) and over 80 masks have been produced so far. There’s a lot of great sewn mask making efforts in our area, but it’s great to see our members jumping in as well.

One last update: Much of what we are doing started in the Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies group, and while we haven’t been as active as we’ve wanted to (due to making face shields) there is now a local effort, the Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies – Milwaukee group which a few of our members are involved in. Hopefully they’ll be able to steer us towards the best practices and efforts of the larger group. (And if you can help, please join in!)

We’ll do our best to keep you up to date with progress on this project as we move forward. As we’ve said among the group, we can’t wait to put ourselves out of the face shield making business, but as long as there’s a need to keep people safe that isn’t being fulfilled, we’ll keep doing it.

Want to help?