CUNY schools 3D-print PPE face shields for NYC health workers

Twin plastic protective face shield preparing for use in operating room in hospital.
Photo via Getty Images


Teams from colleges across the CUNY system are using 3D-printing technology to create protective face shields for medical workers as the city faces a shortage of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Six colleges –  The City College of New York, Bronx Community College, Queensborough Community College, LaGuardia Community College, New York City College of Technology and The Graduate Center – have turned their campus’ 3D printers to making laser-cut biodegradable plastic face shields and plastic frames so that workers can wear the shields.

These types of plastic face shields are in common use in New York City hospitals as they provide more protection than a standard surgical mask.

At City College, 14 3D-printers can produce 300 of the plastic headband-like frames every day. A trio of City College staff ensured that the designs were approved by the National Institutes of Health before getting permission to move the printers in late March to Hack Manhattan, a nonprofit tech firm that is producing PPE for NYCMakesPPE. This organization has delivered about 12,500 face shields to date.

LaGuardia Community College donated spools of biodegradable plastic that can be used in the 3D printers.

Community Colleges have been fully involved in the effort, with Bronx Community College producing the parts for more than 200 face shields using seven 3D printers and Queensborough Community College expecting the top 100 face shields made off of a single 3D printer in April alone.

“There is no greater cause at the moment, and we are proud to stand with New York City and do what we can to help those on the front lines of the war against COVID-19,” said Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.