The creativity and ingenuity of the people in the Nuclear Security Enterprise is renown, so when it came to COVID-19-related problems to solve, it’s no surprise that a member of NNSA workforce stepped up to the plate.
Scott Hawks, a 3D-printing enthusiast, leapt at the opportunity to do good with his hobby by using one of his printers to make frames that hold simple face shields for medical personal protection equipment (PPE). He is making these frames while teleworking in his usual duties as the Classification Officer for the NNSA Production Office, which has offices in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the Texas Panhandle.
It started when a co-worker in Tennessee asked Hawks if he could make a frame for her son’s fiancée, who works at a nearby healthcare facility. Once he got the plans for the frames along with the face shield templates, he was off and running.
“It took about an hour and 45 minutes to print one frame on my primary machine,” Hawks said. “I made a jig that facilitates cutting the six holes using a three-hole punch with an adjustable arm.”
Word has spread to others needing face shields and he is making more. “I've made 82 frames and 40 hole punch jigs as of today,” he said.
It’s not a fast or quiet process, however.
“I'm working out of my hobby room,” he said. “So I start a print and the printer runs while I work. It is noisier than a paper printer, but I liken it to printing a large document while I work and I basically tune it out. It takes about three minutes to setup for another print when a frame is finished.”