DTI 7 to use Fablabs to make face shields

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 is mobilizing fabrication laboratories (FabLab) in Central Visayas to produce f face shields for the medical frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The agency is also calling on local suppliers to supply these FabLabs with raw materials so they can proceed with the mass production.

DTI 7 said it needs suppliers for the laser cutter, 4.5mm acrylic clear, size 4ft x 8ft, 200 mic, 216mm x 330mm PVC cover (acetate sheet), and one-inch foam.

For the 3D printer, it needs a spool 1.75mm PLA 3D printer filament.

“We are doing this because this is the most economical, using the 3D printer and laser cutter. DTI will support the fabrication but we have limited funds, so we will be accepting donations of raw materials for the production,” said DTI Assistant Secretary Asteria Caberte, on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

Central Visayas has FabLabs in Cebu City, Tuburan, Danao, Argao, Bogo City, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.

A FabLab is a technical prototyping platform for innovation and invention that allows local manufacturers to make prototypes and products such as equipment, machinery and electronic gadgets; create scale models, illustrate graphic designs and mass-produce products, among others.

Caberte said all FabLabs in Central Visayas are already working on the prototypes for mass production.

In Cebu City, a team of faculty members and staff at the University of the Philippines Cebu FabLab has designed and started 3D-printing of face shield frames to contribute to the much-needed supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the fight against Covid-19.

“The frame can be attached to a sheet of plastic or acetate to create a face shield that helps protect Cebu’s frontline health workers and other users against the novel coronavirus. Prototyping of the frame was initially created using a 3D printer but after a few tests they found out that using a laser cutter was much faster and yielded more results. The FabLab will be operating at regular office hours to work on producing as much face shields for the Cebu community. Procurement of additional materials is already underway,” the University of the Philippines-Cebu (UP Cebu) announced through a Facebook post.

The UP Cebu team expects to receive additional materials for making the frames from the DTI. It also welcomes support from private donors, once a final model will be made that is ready for mass production.

DTI Bohol, on the other hand, has started its development of face shields for Bohol frontliners.

In a post, the DTI Bohol said the “initial move to develop face shields was in direct response to the scarcity of PPEs among hospitals, which is currently seen as major threat to the health and safety of medical practitioners attending to the novel coronavirus cases in the country.”

“The first prototypes were presented to doctors at the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Regional Hospital (GCGMRH) together with the Bohol Island State University (BISU) FabLab and after some modifications in both aesthetic and ease of use, mass production is now ongoing and will soon be out for use and without cost, by medical practitioners and other frontliners in the province,” Jerome Manatad, FabLab Bohol technical manager, said.

Manatad said with the new and improved production process, “a single face shield can be done in less than five minutes.”

With close to 10 volunteers from various sectors, BISU FabLab, GCGMRH and DTI Bohol have teamed up early this week to develop about 2,000 face shields with the aid of a 3D printer and a laser cutter, all made at the Fablab. (JOB WITH PR)