A batch of face shield holders waiting to be sanitized at the UBCO Makerspace. (Okanagan Makers Alliance)

Okanagan group uses 3D printing to make face shields for Interior Health

The group includes employees of the Okanagan Regional Library and UBCO

A group of Okanagan 3D printing digital makers have come together to create face shields and ear savers for Interior Health employees.

Led by four Kelowna residents Dallas Rodier, Heather Marnier, Cortnee Chulo and Ben Guidolin, the group is serving as a hub for digital makers in Central Okanagan as they build face shields and ear savers to help health care workers.

Heather Marnier is a technical assistant at the Okanagan Regional Library. She said Rodier started a Facebook group about three weeks ago and put out the call for others to help him make personal protective equipment (PPE).

“A coworker of mine saw that and seeing as I’m a 3D printing enthusiast, (my coworker) invited me to join the group. Since the library has three 3D printers available, we reached out to our IT point person and he bought the materials we needed to make the face shields,” she said.

She said the library has helped the cause by buying PETG, a special type of food-grade filament that can be sanitized to Interior Health standards, which is then distributed to other digital makers in Kelowna who build face shields and ear savers.

She said the group, Okanagan Makers Alliance, is the only one so far to offer to make the shields for free or by donation. They’re working in direct partnership with Interior Health, which asked for 1,750 face shields.

Marnier said she then invited her friend Chulo to join the group. Chulo works at UBC Okanagan as the Makerspace manager, a workspace where students and staff can use 3D printers, sewing machines and other technologies to bring their ideas to life.

“Her team is our powerhouse. They have the Makerspace, they have engineering and art students involved, as well as the education department, so they have the most 3D printers and the most space that we can use as a warehouse for decontamination and sanitization and storage,” Marnier said.

The face shields being produced were designed by Rodier. Marnier said he designed it in such a way that there are very little moving parts, which gives users a more efficient way to clean them.

Rodier connected with UBCO student Guidolin, who has since helped with organizing pick-ups of the PPE.

“Once we’re done ten face shields, we fill out a form, put them in a bag and leave them out for (Guidolin) to pick up. It’s all zero contact. The face shields are then in decontamination for two days, then sanitized by the university’s team. Then he picks them up again and drops them off for Kelowna General Hosptial and Interior Health,” she said.

According to Marnier, other groups have also reached out to them, asking if they can make masks and face shields for other frontline workers, including those who work with people experiencing homelessness, or those who work in care facilities.

“They need protective gear as well. We have a lot to do so if it can’t be us who can help them, we really try to be a hub to connect them to other makers,” explained Marnier.

She went on to say it has been an awesome experience to be involved.

“It’s a lot of work. There are text messages starting at 7 a.m., going past midnight between our team here. But it’s work that I’m doing happily. It takes up the majority of my time, but it gives me that energy to do other things and to feel something positive. The human spirit that I’ve seen through this, with people donating their time, efforts and materials… it’s so uplifting during this time.”

Currently, she said the group needs funds to keep making protective gear. Information on how to donate can be found in the online group.

If you know others who are giving back and helping those in need during this critical time, send us an email and let us know!

READ MORE: Kelowna songwriters release health care workers video tribute

READ MORE: West Kelowna business produces plexiglass barriers with a cause

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Okanagan Minor Lacrosse cancels box season

COVID-19 wipes out indoor lacrosse; group hopeful outdoor field season will start in August

Vancouver Foundation grants benefit Okanagan-Shuswap residents

Grants of up to $500 available for ideas that connect people socially or involve sharing skills

Water quality advisory rescinded for Killiney Beach customers

Turbidity levels improve enough to rescind advisory issued May 11

UPDATED: Two sent to hospital by air ambulance following Enderby highway accident

Drivers involved in collision on Highway 97A in Enderby; serious, but not life-threatening injuries

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Summerland once had Old English theme

Design guidelines were introduced in late 1980s

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Penticton Search and Rescue airlifts injured mountain biker near Naramata

The Penticton Fire Department initially took the call and attended to the injured biker.

Most Read