Teacher designs and makes 500 face shields for emergency workers on frontline of COVID-19 pandemic


GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — A teacher at Georgetown High School is putting his quarantine time to good use – designing and producing hundreds of face shields for healthcare workers in Williamson County.

Robert Thomas, the facilitator of the Eagle Innovation Center at the high school, has set up a one-man factory where he is making personal protective equipment.

He plans to make at least 500 face shields, and says some are already in use among workers on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I really appreciate what the health professionals are doing out there and I’m really pleased to just be a small part of it,” Thomas said.

The idea came after Georgetown Health Foundation asked the high school whether its 3D printer could be used to help address the shortage of personal protective equipment for workers.

Since, Thomas has made 400 but it hasn’t been an easy quest. At first attempt, he found that relying solely on the 3D printer took too long.

“The one I like best took an hour and 56 minutes to make,” said Thomas. “What I’ve done, is nested the design.”

Instead, he was able to speed up the process using acrylic sheets and a laser cutter, and is now able to produce four shields in less than six minutes.

He says they are light and comfortable, and can even be worn for hours on end if necessary.

The shields are already being used inside the Lone Star Circle of Care clinics, the Williamson County Jail and local hospitals.

Georgetown Health Foundation is funding the materials used in Thomas’ project as part of $746,000 in emergency grants handed out to local nonprofits able to provide critical services during the outbreak.

The design is available online. There are plans to make hundreds more.

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