Local makers in El Paso have prototyped and ramped up production of face shields and face masks to meet the growing demand for protective equipment for workers on the front lines. The nonprofit organization, FabLab of El Paso, together with local engineers and fabricators, are putting their army of 3-D printers to fabricate protective equipment available at low-cost.
Local maker Ryan Orozco started producing personal protective equipment (PPE) six weeks ago to help meet the demand for PPE in communities around the country. As COVID-19 cases began to grow in El Paso, Orozco’s efforts shifted to supplying El Paso and the surrounding region, joining many others in the area including FabLab of El Paso. Local businessman and volunteer Charles Horak and Fab Lab Executive Director Cathy Chen began coordinating the efforts of several suppliers and makers in the community and the team is now producing nearly 500 protective face shields and face masks per day.
“We know how difficult it has been for doctor’s offices, clinics, nursing homes, home health care providers, even grocery stores and first-responders to find PPE in the open market. It is either incredibly expensive or not available. We have an amazing maker community in El Paso that includes the FabLab of El Paso and private producers who are using their equipment and personal passion to fill this gap and support the health and safety of frontline workers throughout our community,” says Charles Horak who is helping coordinate this effort on a volunteer basis, including raising money to help subsidize the cost of the needed equipment and consumable supplies.
FabLab of El Paso is a community-driven innovation space and STEM lab for the ingenious inventor, innovator, and imagineer in the region. “Our primary mission is to provide creative educational experiences for students of all ages and accessible prototyping services for entrepreneurs and industry. With classes and events canceled, we have been able to put our know-how and numerous 3-D printers to work during this pandemic to help meet a community need,” says Cathy Chen.
The Face Shields are now available for healthcare and other frontline organizations and businesses for a suggested $2 donation per face shield. The Face Masks are available for a suggested $1 per face mask. You can place an order here.
Donations of any size are also welcome. Click here to donate.