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Southern Illinoisans join forces to create face shields for health care workers
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Southern Illinoisans join forces to create face shields for health care workers

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Face shields

Dav Glass uses a laser cutter in his garage workshop to create face shields for health care workers. 

After hearing about the shortage of personal protective equipment to fight COVID-19, Bernie Hennenberger’s best friend, Darren Haney, had an idea to help local hospitals during the pandemic. They could use their 3D printers to make face shields for health care workers.

“He was the one who set up a meeting with Southern Illinois Healthcare and delivered the first prototypes to the hospital,” Henniberger said.

On April 11, Haney died. Henniberger continued the project in memory of his best friend. He has now made and delivered about 200 face shields.

Some of the first face shields Henniberger and Haney printed took 30 minutes to create. After discussions with SIH, they changed the design. SIH requested they print a shield that took two and a half hours to complete.

“I’m glad to have two 3D printers. They’re like employees that don’t cost anything,” he said.

Henniberger still has about 40 face shields to deliver.

Dallas Terry, career education coordinator at Carbondale Community High School, started printing face shields after the school received a request from Southern Illinois Healthcare. He said they called several schools to see if they had 3D printers available for the project.

Terry brought two of the school’s 3D printers home and began making the framework for the shields. He said they inserted clear plastic into that framework. “They work very slowly,” he said.

Terry made about 50 shields in a week.

Face Sheilds

Dallas Terry shows the framework for face shields he made for Southern Illinois Healthcare. 

Dav Glass was browsing the internet when he found plans for face shields. Glass has a garage workshop that includes two laser cutters and runs HackSI.

He enlisted the help of his friend and neighbor, Williamson County Clerk Andrew Wilson. He asked Wilson to call around and assess the need for additional face shields.

Glass also called Tyler Young of The Print Shop in Marion. Young suggested they use report covers with a clear front and colored back to cut the masks.

“We have made and delivered around 800 face shields,” Wilson said. “We got a pretty good response from Heartland Regional Medical Center and nursing homes.”

For Glass, the project is personal. He had a heart attack nearly a year ago and appreciates the care he received.

“This is some scary stuff. I’d rather see things hit the trash in three months than to know any one of our doctors or nurses was not protected,” Glass said.

He added that this is sort of a practical application of the HackSI event. Hacking is using things that do not usually work together complete a task. This process fits that definition of hacking.

It also has been a way to involve parents and children. Glass and Mark Wallace, a teacher at Marion High School, have both involved their children in the project.

Rex Budde, CEO and president of Southern Illinois Healthcare, and Ed Cunningham, CEO of Heartland Regional Medical Center, said donations of personal protective equipment, like the face shields, have been instrumental in stretching their supplies. Budde said the face shield design is better than the ones available through their commercial suppliers.

Both health care organizations will resume elective surgery beginning May 11.

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