VIA <NBC Affiliate (KCRA 3)> Melanie Wingo
ROCKLIN, Calif. —
There's an urgent need for personal protective equipment, or PPE, to help shield doctors and nurses caring for patients with the coronavirus.
So some local "hackers" are coming together with a common goal: outfitting medical professionals in our area with this desperately needed protective wear.
Alan Puccinelli is the inspiration behind a swirl of activity at Hacker Lab in Rocklin. About a week ago, Alan started 3D printing parts for hospital-grade face shields using an open-source, validated design he discovered online.
It's the type of shield that's in high demand right now during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Flash forward to Saturday, and Operation Shields Up! is up and running.
Puccinelli is accepting no-contact drop-offs and shipments of 3D printed parts from makers across the country.
He's also mobilized a team of nearly two dozen other local makers to help him construct the shields.
"It's super rewarding," said Joshua Morris, who's helping Operation Shields Up! while he's out of work.
As a contract software engineer, he was furloughed from the retail store he worked for shortly after the coronavirus outbreak began.
"To think that people could take their hobby and do something that could possibly save people's lives, I think every 3D printer and hobbyist I know would jump at the chance to do it," Morris said.
There's a strict process put in place to get the masks from Point A to Point B that puts safety first.
Everyone in the workspace wears masks and gloves at all times. While the 3D printing of parts is happening, onsite shipped parts are vetted and quality-checked.
Then there's meticulous disinfection of those parts, drying, laser cutting of the plastic shield pieces, cleaning of the shields and then packaging of the components before they're sent to the front line medical staff that needs them most.
"We're fighting an invisible enemy and with that people are stressed and there's anxiety because you can't see it," said John Wiesenfarth, MD, president of the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society.
His organization is connected to all the major health systems in the area and will distribute the shields based on need. "These shields are wonderful, they're just a layer of protection that we all need," he said.
That's why Puccinelli plans to move full-steam-ahead with this project, and he'll keep going until the need subsides.
"I get emotional about it because it's like everyday when the postman gets here I get letters and just hundreds of these printed parts that we process and that's made it very much a 'many hands makes light work' effort," Puccinelli said.
All the shields made by Operation Shields Up! will stay in the greater Sacramento area. To help with this effort, visit opshieldsup.org for more information.
You can help doctors and nurses IMMEDIATELY!
We have a team of volunteers that are busy working around the clock creating protective face shields for front line hospital workers, emergency medical responders, police and fire personnel and more...
All face shields are FREE!