Jeremy Katz, Owner of JK Automotive Designs, found out that his local hospital in Norwood, Massachusetts was in need of protective gear as they battle COVID-19. His son was born at Norwood Hospital and his brother’s kids were born there too. So Katz decided to do something to help. He found a design for 3D machining face shields, but when Katz tried it, it took 5 hours just to make two straps, let alone a single mask.
He joined with JK employee Evan Collins and they redesigned a protective face shield for a laser machine, so that a mask can now take 5 minutes to make. Katz has produced 100 and said, “If we had materials, we could make 500 a day.” He posted his CAD design online and said a hundred people including industry members around the country are now producing the protective face shields.
John Schwartz of Perfectionist Auto Sound in Alaska has a goal of making 500 masks. As of Tuesday night he had cut about 200. “I’m just donating to local medical professionals and testing people. It’s a huge demand and everyone is asking me for one. Jeremy Katz designed it and I loved the idea of putting my tools to use. I’ll keep making them as long as I can keep getting the supplies!” he said.
Where it cost Schwartz $800 for materials, others are finding it easy to get donated materials. JT Torres of Automotive Entertainment, CA said he obtained 4 by 8 acrylic sheets for $20 each, when he explained why he was purchasing them. He has enough material for about 1,000 shields, he said, and it will cost him about $300. Orca Design & Manufacturing is making a donation to the shop to help defray the cost. Torres put a notice online and found a group of cardiologists that need protective shields and he plans to donate the remainder to local hospitals, clinics and fire departments.
Schwartz shared the materials needed as:
1/16″ ABS for the head straps
.030-.050 Polycarbonate for the face shield or PETG plastic if they can find it *
1/2″ or 3/4″ elastic band
Then either clips or zip ties to hold them together.
*You can’t laser polycarbonate though only PETG.
The laser cutting file may be found at https://www.facebook.com/jkautomotivedesigns/
Torres said you can get the elastic band from JoAnn Fabric Stores, and when he told them why he was buying it they donated it. The main problem with making the shields if you already have a laser cutter is simply getting the materials. “In LA we’re fortunate that these companies are not too busy and they are just sitting on these inventories. In some areas, it’s hard to find,” said Torres.
Jeremy Carlson of Avant Garde Design, FL is in a state where there is no shelter in place order yet. He was able to order materials and hopes to produce 1,000 masks by Monday. His biggest expense after getting discounts on materials is shipping as Amazon is on a reduced schedule. He received free plastic materials from Piedmont Plastics. “We are trying to do what we can to give back,” said Carlson.
DD Audio in Oklahoma is ready to shift production to protective shields for companies who want to order them. The aim is to keep employees working, help out the community, and take advantage of its manufacturing capability. It sent out a notice stating it has reset equipment to produce PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for immediate production and that it has the following capabilities:
- Extensive network of suppliers, domestic and international for sourcing various types of materials and parts
- Electrical engineering, manufacturing and assembly
- IT and software development
- 3D printing
- CNC and Laser equipment
- Composite material manufacturing including carbon fiber, kevlar and fiberglass
- Domestic warehousing and distribution
- Import/Export capabilities and expertise for multiple countries
DD Audio said orders can be started immediately. “We are willing to work with donations and/or POs to accommodate.” For more information email: [email protected].
We know other shop owners are joining in reproducing the shields designed by Katz and Collins although we didn’t interview them for this story.
DS18 is also donating masks to Miami hospitals, supplied by its DS18 China office. “The boss has used all resources to make it possible to get [the masks] as fast as possible,” said Rob Ferro. You can read more in 12 Volt News here.
We encourage anyone making donations or building protective gear to post it in the comment section below, not to brag but to encourage others and let us all feel proud in this time of hardship.