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Dynatrace Sales Engineers build 3D printed PPE for frontline professionals

During the current global pandemic of COVID-19, the team at Dynatrace are helping out the community in the best way we can. Two Dynatrace Sales Engineers from our Chicago region, Dave Beran and Josh Wood, have recently collaborated on a 3D printing project to protect their local frontline professionals.

To date, the pair made just over 600 face shield kits/mounts for their Chicagoland suburb hospitals, dental offices, assisted living homes, and correctional facilities.

Some health care workers prefer shorter shields, while others prefer taller shields covering their face. Either can be accommodated by using either one or two 10 mil PVC report covers per PPE kit.

Dave said, “After hearing that many of my friends and relatives were sewing face masks in their free time, my colleague and friend Josh heard there were also other PPE that hospitals and health clinics are in dire need of and we joined forces.” Together, Dave and Josh purchased their 3D printers in early April and have been collaborating ever since.

Surprisingly affordable 3D printers are now widely available. They can be used to print a single PPE face shield mount in just around 60 minutes.

When speaking to Josh, he told me that prior to his time at Dynatrace he had constructed research on new materials that could be used for 3D printing.

“Over the years, I have kept in touch with colleagues who are still researching materials that can be used for 3D printing. And when the pandemic hit, I started talking with them about the movement to use off the shelf materials to print PPE,” Josh said. “It was clear that this could fill the gap and protect our front-line professionals. However, those colleagues were not in a position to directly contribute. I still wanted to help out in any way possible, and small 3D printers are surprisingly affordable. As such, we took the plunge and purchased printers for this effort.”

Here is a picture of the final product. Some 3D models that are available for printing PPE do not require elastic straps to hold the PPE around the head. The modified model here prevents the wearer from experiencing chaffing behind their ears.
Working diligently, Dave and Josh can each print 14-16 PPE face shield parts per day.
The material generally used for printing this kind of PPE is called “PLA,” that is, polylactic acid, a renewable, compostable plastic made from corn byproducts. It can come in a wide variety of colors and textures, shown here.

Dave admitted there was a bit of a learning curve to this project, as a budget printer doesn’t have as many advanced features that more expensive printers have. However, after some late-night collaboration sessions and a few printing ‘disasters’, our two Dynatracers can now successfully print one face shield per hour and can a 3D face mask in 7 hours. All their efforts have paid off as they are printing face shields consistently like a small factory.

“The demand for the face shields has not relented. It seems like we may be printing the PPE for the foreseeable future to continue to protect our frontline workers. But we have a system in place now, so the printing can proceed like clockwork,” Josh said.

Thank you, Josh and Dave, for your dedication to making the world a stronger and safer place. Your colleagues around the world applaud you! #DynatraceLife #DynatraceGivesBack

The maker group has built a website to help others nationwide adopt the same print and distribute model.