Texas library employees use 3D printers to make protective gear for health care workers

HOUSTON (KTRK/CNN) – Houston library workers are providing life-saving gear to first responders amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rachel Reed and other Harris County Public Library System employees are making personal protective equipment, or PPE, from their homes using 3D printers.

"I just looked around at the lab and was like, it would be such a waste to leave these 3D printers for what we originally thought was going to be maybe a couple of weeks, which is now a month or more, when we could be helping people," Reed said.

The library employees are making plastic headbands, a component of the protective face shields needed by health care professionals treating COVID-19 patients.

"Even though this is plastic, it's actually pretty stretchy so that it can fit a variety of head shapes," Reed said.

Each headband takes about two hours to make, and the process is actually pretty easy. First, you program instructions into a computer. Then you sit back and wait.

"That's what's so great about 3D printing, is that it prints exactly what you want it to be. It creates very little waste,” Reed said.

The headbands are only one part of what’s needed. Other groups are providing plastic coverings, elastic and padding to create the face shields.

The library system said anyone with a 3D printer or tools that allow for such printing can also produce much-needed supplies.

All you need are certain files, patterns and supplies, which can be bought online.

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