Student steps up to print 3D face shields for medical workers


Abby Porter

For senior Marcus Hurt, it was hard not to be informed about the reality of the COVID-19 outbreaks across the country. 

“Over half my family right now is either working at a hospital or is a nurse or doctor of some sort,” Hurt said. “I felt like I wanted to do something as well.” 

Over the past three weeks, Hurt has created 80 face shields, which he says are an important piece of PPE, or personal protection equipment, that goes over the mask on a healthcare worker’s face. According to Hurt, face shields are prioritized for doctors and nurses in hospitals, and with a lack of supplies, many nursing home staff, like his aunt, don’t receive this layer of protection.

“I felt like I wanted to do something as well”

“Whether it’s getting them dressed or doing daily activities, they are getting close to [patients],” Hurt said. “[The shield is] just to add another layer of protection there.”

Hurt has filled the need of nursing staff through his passion for 3D printing. He prints one component of the shield, the brim, using his own printer as well as the school one. 3D printing is something Hurt has been passionate about for the past few years, and he can often be found in the tutorial center printing.

He outsources the other parts from Amazon, although shipments sometimes take weeks. Once he has all the parts, Hurt assembles the masks and gives them to his aunt who drives them to her nursing facility in San Leandro. 

“There’s a little foam component that goes on the front so your forehead doesn’t get scratched up,” Hurt said. “Then there’s the elastic band that stays on your head. And then the last one is the most important. It’s called acetate, it’s a clear film. That’s the actual face shield itself.”

3D printers Hurt uses to create face shields. Photo courtesy of Marcus Hurt.

According to Hurt, the clear film part is the one that takes the longest to ship, the reason he’s been unable to create more than 50 masks per week. 

Hurt encourages other teenagers to help out as well. In addition to abiding by the shelter-in-place and social distancing guidelines, he advises students to look at the MVLA or City Council websites for activities to help.

“I know it can get pretty restless being inside, but what’s allowed me to not go against those rules is to know and inform yourself of the facts that are going on right now and make decisions off of that,” Hurt said.

He recommends reading or watching the news once a day for a short period of time to stay updated and informed.

Completed face shields Hurt created. Photo courtesy of Marcus Hurt.

“Look for things in your community that you can do that you don’t have to go outside to dothat’s a good distraction to keep you motivated when you’re feeling restless,” Hurt said, “ but you know that you’re at least doing something that’s going to be beneficial to not only yourself, but the people around you.”