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Coronavirus: B.C. teen uses 3D printer to make face shields

B.C. teen printing and shipping face shields to U.S. doctors
A B.C. teen is stepping up to help frontline workers at the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Grace Ke reports, he's pumping out a key piece of personal protective equipment and shipping it south of the border.

In his backyard, tucked next to a plastic slide, Grade 12 student Sean Uy has turned a 3D printing hobby into a life-saving project.

“It started with my uncle in California who contacted us, and said we are soon going to be put in the front lines and battling these patents with COVID-19, and there’s probably going to be a shortage of PPEs,” the Richmond teen said, referring to personal protective gear.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Hospital cleaners, admin workers need PPE too, unions say

Uy started researching designs and sent 18 face shields to his uncle, who is a cardiologist.

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“He was really happy with it because if they run out, it’s better than nothing and he also had other doctors give feedback.”

Soon, the J.N. Burnett Secondary student was in full production, printing more than 200 masks in the last couple of weeks.

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He gets up twice at night to reload his printers.

Other hospitals reached out, including Elmhurst Hospital in New York City, the hard-hit epicentre of COVID-19 in the U.S.

“That really meant a lot to me. Seeing that parts that were printed here that I touched and that we shipped off and used for front-line care workers,” he said.

Mask and PPE shortage concerns continue in B.C.
Mask and PPE shortage concerns continue in B.C.

He was paying for the supplies, but now gets donations, and encourages others with 3D printers to contribute.

“Let’s all work together because ironically, it’s social distancing, but we have to work together to be able to make enough.”