Jody Mitchell of Logan Lake is hoping to use her 3D printing business, Filaprint, to do good during the coronavirus outbreak.
She is printing plastic face shields for use by Interior Health.
Mitchell is also attempting to design a new prototype that will cut down production time and cost while still providing the same, or better, level of protection for health-care workers.
“At the moment, I’m printing some of the online versions of the face shield and then I’m trying to prototype something that’s a little bit simpler that would be cheaper, faster, easier to print and more effective than what I can find available online,” Mitchell said.
“I’m redesigning a new face mask that comes up from the neck, so it’s something simple that goes around the neck and then you clip on a clear plastic that goes straight up from there. So, it would be a cheaper print to make, and faster, so that I can print out many, many more than I could with the files that are available online right now.”
The most popular files online take about three to four hours to print a single unit, with about $3 in material costs. Mitchell hopes to design something she can make between 20 and 40 of in the same amount of time, for less cost per unit.
“It’s just a really, really fast, cheap kind of disposable option for them so that they can wrap this thing around their neck, throw a plastic sheet on top of it, go into a room and then be able to dispose of that whole unit safely and have it cost them a few cents for each one, rather than 10, 20, 30, 40 or hundreds of dollars for each one, depending on what people are charging for them right now,” she said.
“The ones you can find online right now, they’re good, don’t get me wrong, they’re great, but it would take 24 hours to produce six of them, so that doesn’t make sense. I’m just trying to work on changing that right now.”
Medical supplies aren’t Mitchell’s usual area of expertise. Her business model is the creation of large-scale, completely accurate representations of landscapes.
“Typically, what I’m using my 3D printers for is, I was taking satellite data and exact topography files and then printing out exact mountain ranges where you could actually feel the rivers or the ocean and the mountains would be an exact replica of that terrain,” she said,, noting tiles are welded together to form the huge creations.
Mitchell said a recent client was BC Parks, for which she finished a number of designs for visitor centres.
“I did a bunch of their parks for them and I painted on the trails so that they could put them at their visitor centres and they could help tourists talk about which trails might be more their level of skill, so they can actually see the mountains and experience them without having to be on them,” she said.