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Washington student makes face shields with 3D printer, donates to Vidant

Washington High School freshman John Hinchey has taken on a project to develop personal protective equipment, making face shields and to donate them to Vidant Beaufort Hospital. He made his first delivery on Wednesday morning.

Hinchey said the idea to create face shields stemmed from his sister, who came home from college and told him a group at her college was looking at making ventilators with 3D printers.

“I’m in an email group with some guys from Ireland that are trying to design 3D ventilators, but some of them split off and started designing personal protective equipment like these and other facemasks and stuff,” Hinchey said. “The ventilators aren’t there yet, because they have to go through a bunch of verification, but these are ready to go.”

Hinchey was recently selected to be a project manager at OpenSource Ventilator Ireland. Since early March, he has been teaming up with local 3D-printing businesses to start producing face shields.

“The shields were designed recently by the group 3D Verkstan, as a first attempt to try helping our heroes in need,” Hinchey said. “I’ve been working since early March, printing close to 100 units that I’m here donating (to Vidant Beaufort) today.”

Hinchey explained that his goal is to extend the resources of his global response group to local hospitals and EMS.

“I’ve been 3D printing stuff for a while. When I was told (the face shields) could be made out of these types of plastics, and they had 3D designs done already, I was like, ‘This is perfect,’” Hinchey said. “I have 82 masks here today. … The (arms of the shield are) 3D printed, and the shield is just a plastic projector sheet that I hole-punched.”

Over the next couple of weeks, Hinchey’s goal is to launch a GoFundMe page to cover cost of production and produce hundreds more units.

“While fabricating 3D-printed ventilators may be weeks away, producing emergency personal protective equipment is not. I had several people willing to help, including those at Washington Montessori and 3D-printing businesses in Greenville,” Hinchey said.

Pam Shadle, the Director of Marketing, Community Outreach and Development, said the hospital is grateful for all the community’s support during this time.

“Vidant Health, along with Vidant Beaufort Hospital are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. We are currently working through a process to determine how to utilize the personal protective equipment that many have donated,” Shadle said.

Anyone who would like to donate to Hinchey’s project of creating more face shields can do so at this link: www.gofundme.com/f/beaufort-county-covid19-response?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet.