Madiha Choksi using 3D printing to produce PPE for fight coronavirus

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Madiha Choksi using 3D printing to produce PPE for fight coronavirus
Madiha Choksi using 3D printing to produce PPE for fight coronavirus

In response to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) as hospitals and clinics scramble to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, librarians at Columbia University have released a Guide and Design for Rapidly Manufacturing Face Shields with a 3D printer and household tools.

Last week, Dr. Pierre Elias, a Columbia University Cardiology Fellow, contacted Research and Learning Technologies Librarian Madiha Choksi to ask about utilizing the Libraries’ 3D printers and staff expertise of the Libraries’ Studio to produce face shields. Dr. Elias provided a design for a face shield visor posted by Budmen Industries. Choksi took the Budmen design and optimized it, cutting the printing time by one third.

The new visor design takes about an hour to print, and the acetate for the front of the shield can be cut and molded by hand. A simple hole-punch makes the holes that connect the front of the shield to the visor.

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Eager to help with the PPE crisis, Choksi moved quickly last week to transport two idle printers from Columbia’s Butler Library, which has been closed since Sunday, March 15, to her home before working on prototypes. She scaled down the visor’s size from the original design by less than 10 percent to dramatically reduce printing time. Additionally, she angled the visor to make it easier for health professionals to don protective masks behind the shield.

Choksi also enlisted the help of other Libraries staff, including Digital Scholarship Librarian Alex Gil and Research Data Librarian Moacir P. de Sá Pereira to create the Guide and Design for Rapidly Manufacturing Face Shields. The team distributed the guide to other academic libraries who may be in a position to begin production of shields. To further support the rapid production of shields, Head of Research Data Services Jeremiah Trinidad-Christensen has connected with Columbia faculty about utilizing additional campus 3D printers.

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Choksi delivered five prototype shields on March 21 to Dr. Elias, who subsequently requested 1,000 shields for New York Presbyterian Hospitals. Choksi also delivered ten prototypes to Laurell Taylor, RN, who has distributed them to front line health care workers around New York City to test for usability and durability. The workers include ICU nurses, nursing administrators, and medical assistants processing laboratory specimens.

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On March 23, Choksi is traveling to Tangible Creative’s 700-square-foot production space in Newark, NJ, to oversee production of additional shields. Tangible Creative, a 3D printing services company, has agreed to mobilize their wall of printers to help meet Dr. Elias’s demand.

The original face shield design was developed by Isaac Budmen and Stephanie Keefe, who produced 300 shields to share among medical professionals in Onondaga County, in upstate New York. They made the design available to others with access to 3D printers, as long as they agreed to sign a waiver releasing Budmen Industries of any liability.

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