Australian recreational aircraft producer Jabiru has joined the greatest industrial mobilisation of recent times by turning to making medical face shields. The company is using 3D printing to make the shields, which protect medical personnel from airborne infection by the Covid-19 virus.
Jabiru Aircraft business manager Sue Woods said, ‘We have been very concerned for the wellbeing of paramedics, GPs and medical personnel who are on the frontline. We hope that the extra layer of protection offered by the face shield will keep these essential people free of the virus.’
An engineer for the Bundaberg-based aircraft maker, Alex Swan, designed the face shield with a 3D-printed headband and a transparent polycarbonate visor cut with a flatbed computer numeric control router.
Swan took the company’s 3D printers home with him and has been waking in the middle of the night to reset them for maximum production. ‘They are going 24/7 and Alex will be running them all over Easter, to get them to the hospital as soon as possible,’ Woods said.
Jabiru is working with a range of institutions and businesses to produce the shield framework on 3D printers. Among the volunteer organisations are CQUniversity Bundaberg and Gladstone, Makerspace Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, CQUniversity Makerspace , Bundaberg Library, Terry Harlick Industries, Shalom School and Signature Drafting.
Hospitals and paramedics have placed orders for 2000 shields. The first shipment of 110 face shields went to Western Australia on Monday for use by paramedics. Hospitals in Wide Bay and Cairns and GP clinics are due to receive face shields soon.
Woods said Jabiru and its associates were on track to deliver 300 shields by early next week. ‘We’ll just keep on printing them until the crisis is over.’