Odessa College Fab Lab producing and providing face shields

It all started with a phone call to the Fab Lab just before Spring Break. Dr. Tara Deaver, a member of the OC board of trustees and assistant professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, asked if the Fab lab could make medical face masks equivalent to N95 masks? That eventually led to the production of face shields needed by so many of the medical providers in our community.


“Last week the Fab Lab received a large shipment of transparent sheets of PETG material which will enable us to make thousands of face shields. Unlike other material used for face shields, PETG can be easily cleaned, disinfected, and re-used,” said Nicholas Harrison, director of the Odessa College Fab Lab. “We were only able to purchase this material thanks to our relationship with Chevron. Our local contact at Chevron, Kayleigh Dunn, heard about the face shields and asked if Chevron could help. Now Chevron is reimbursing the Fab Lab for the material costs for this project.”


Until now, Harrison has been the only one in the Fab Lab cutting this material, but he recently received approval to enlist the help of volunteers. He said soon he will be reaching out to the community members for their help.


“We also work with two groups in our community, Shields for Souls and United to Help. These groups include doctors, nurses, engineers, business owners, and almost anyone with a 3d printer. We will be sharing some of the PETG material with them so that they can also continue to make additional face shields,” Harrison added.

“It has been a crazy and exhausting project, but it has been rewarding. There were lots of designs. We had to make revisions and more revisions based on the materials available and on feedback we got from health care workers who received our shields. We are now at a place where they are pretty happy with the face shields that we are producing,” Harrison said.

The shields are distributed mainly to local hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other local organizations who have an essential need, and also to surrounding areas as far away as Presidio. A survey is available online at http://bit.ly/PBcovid19 for organizations to identify their PPE and Medical Device needs.