Filipino student hopes 3D printer can be lifesaver for doctors

April 2, 2020 - 11:42 AM
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Filipino student Marcus Chu wears a face shield he made with his 3D printer and assembled at his home in Manila, Philippines, April 1, 2020. Picture taken April 1, 2020. (Gifford Chu/Handout via Reuters)

MANILA— A schoolboy in the Philippines has been putting his free time to good use by making dozens of plastic face shields with his home 3D printer, in an effort to protect medical workers fighting a surge in coronavirus cases.

Marcus Chu, 16, has made more than 80 of the protective screens and has photographs of them being used by the frontline medical personnel at risk of exposure to the highly contagious virus, amid critical shortages of protective gear.

Chu said his 3D printer was a Christmas gift that came along just at the right time.

“I feel like it’s my opportunity to finally help in a very serious situation, even if it’s just in a little way,” the 10th-grader said.

He initially used an open-source design that he found on the Internet to manufacture shield frames, but eventually found a way to tweak the design to so that it can be produced faster and with less materials.

His family has donated the face shields to four different hospitals in Manila.

More than half of the Philippines‘ 107 million population are on home quarantine. The coronavirus has been a big test of the country’s already stretched health system and experts say the real extent of the spread is not yet known due to a slow rate of testing.

At least 13 medical personnel are among the 96 coronavirus deaths in the country, which had confirmed 2,311 cases as of April 1. —Reporting by Adrian Portugal and Peter Blaza; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Giles Elgood