PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain - A Filipino stuck at home because of the nationwide lockdown heeded the government's call to help produce 3D-printed gears to fill in the shortage of protective equipment for health workers dealing with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Christian Garcia, 36, owns Frikers, a shop that sells figurines and paraphernalia related to videogames, superheroes, and TV/Manga characters. He prints these characters in 3D, paints them and puts them out for sale.
When the lockdown was declared in Spain on March 14th, the shop had to close as well.
As the security of health workers started to become a national concern, Garcia took the 3D printer from his shop, brought it home, and downloaded the program for a face shield.
He made a sample and presented it to the Health Ministry, which approved it for mass production.
“Nakita ko sa internet na may nag-upload ng archive, kaya sabi ko, ngayong naka-close naman yung business ko, para may magawa at makatulong din, nagpi-print ako. Kinuha ko yung printer ko sa tindahan, inuwi ko sa bahay, at nagpi-print ako,” Garcia shared.
(I saw that the archive was uploaded on the internet and so I said, since my business is closed, I might as well print so I would be of help. I took home the printer from the shop and started printing.)
The face shields protect health workers from infection, particularly from patients who cough or sneeze. Each shield takes 3 hours to be done.
Garcia has already produced a hundred assembly shields on the first 5 days of printing. These have already been picked up by the IB Salut, the Health Institution in Mallorca, to be sanitized and later mounted and delivered to hospitals for use.
He also announced on Instragram and Facebook his own call to others with a 3D printer, promising to guide volunteers in the step-by-step production compliant with the technical requirement of the Health Ministry.
“Kailangan ko ng tulong ng may mga 3D printers sa bahay, kung puwede silang mag-print. Meron po kaming group ng Telegram o WhatsApp para ma-guide po sila ng pagpi-print,” he said.
(I need the help of others with 3D printers at home. We have a group on Telegram or Whatsapp, to guide them in printing.)
So far, he has donated 5 kilos of 3D plastic that can produce around 175 face shields.