Local engineer makes 3D printer face shields for hospital workers

ABINGTON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- R.J. Lualhati heard firsthand from family members who are nurses and certified nursing assistants fighting the coronavirus: they need equipment. That's when he came up with a mission that put his engineering expertise to work.

"To help our healthcare professionals and clinicians stepping up to help fight COVID-19," he said of his mission which involved using 3D printers to make face shields for health care workers

Lualhati made more than 200 masks in one week. He dropped off 40 of them Friday morning at Abington Hospital-Jefferson Health in Montgomery County.

The materials engineer for Johnson & Johnson and 2016 La Salle University grad reached back to his alma mater to borrow four 3D printers. He found the design for the masks on a resource that engineers share online.

Lulhati works full-time from home and makes the masks in his spare time.

"It is a factory. A production line. I designated a certain area of my living room where I can prep, package and assemble," he said.

He first funded the project with his own money. Then family and friends helped him raise the money to make more shields.

"I've been trying to divide the shield so I can cover not just Abington-Jefferson, but some of the other hospitals in Center City," he said.

The shields need to be sanitized before they're used and they can last for up to three days.

But Lulhati plans on working a lot longer than that.

"I'll be doing this until there's a call that there's no longer a shortage," he said.

Abington Hospital - Jefferson Health accepts equipment donations from the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A tent is set up at the hospital's entrance near Old York Road and Woodland Road. Donations of masks, gloves, sanitizer and disinfectant are greatly appreciated.
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