Platte River Networks Employee Made 3D Printed Face Shields During Shortages

Platte River’s own Blaine Matlock turned his hobby into a way to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Blaine acquired 2 3D printers in January of 2020 to start learning the hobby and understanding the technology. It was when the pandemic hit that Blaine learned from others in the 3D printing community that there were pre-approved face-shield designs available for download so users could print their own shields. Furthermore, healthcare workers could pick the shields up and use them just like they normally would. So Blaine jumped into action.

To make this happen, Blaine needed Filament to continue printing, transparencies for the shield’s face, 4 hole punches as they continually break, zip lock bags, and other miscellaneous items. His friend, Leah from TechPals, has been the biggest support and help with his efforts. She spun up a donations page for Blaine and has done all his supply runs. Fellow Platte River Employees Kari and David G. made the initial donations that helped Blaine get his operation off the ground. These donations helped Blaine get the correct filament in hand and transparencies for the shield part. If it had not been for those two in the beginning Blaine couldn’t have continued past testing the few that he started with. Further, Ic3d gave Blaine an unlimited supply of filament. When he told them how many shields he could make, they filled his car up as much as it could be filled.

When he first started, Blaine was able to make about 8 shields per day. He quickly optimized his files and maximized his efforts to be able to produce 100 shields per day. He does his own quality control, performing it 3 times per day prior to handoff, and then whoever receives them next also performs quality control. He uses FDA designs with approved SOP’s to keep everything clean, safe, and efficient.

In total, Blaine made 1200 face shields and has slowed down production as Denver caught up on PPE equipment. He now has plans to spin up his own 3D Printing Production. Blaine was grateful for the opportunity to do his part in helping during the pandemic and looks forward to continuing to grow his hobby into something bigger. We are so proud to have such thoughtful and hard-working members as a part of the Platte River Team. Way to go Blaine!