Approximately 12 hours prior to the initiation of New Zealand's Level 4 lock down, there was chatter within the maker forums about the possible shortages of personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical staff.
A couple of wise men sent out a few emails, and what ensued over the following 48 hours was pure chaos, yet somehow organised with such harmony.
By the time a few Doctors had verified the demand for face shields, we had already 60+ members from the maker community logged into a group chat on the slack platform ready to help. It was truly beautiful, each member simply fell into place and took initiative.
Categories flourished and instantly we had subgroups of team members working on all aspects of the initiative. Some teams were verifying with health professionals which design we should be using, others were optimising machine specific settings to increase manufacturing speeds. We had people contacting suppliers who may be able to help that were potentially still operating at some level, other people organising regional specific freight and logistics channels.
Laser cutters kicked into action, and alternative clear shield options were discussed and tested. Databases were being built and the data-hackers were arranging automation to streamline data. A charitable funding platform was discussed and arranged, while graphic design members were creating imagery and logos. We even had a governance team, shaping the organisations structure and how decisions would be made!
We've been busy... Real busy
During the lockdown we joined the ShieldsUP Project and immediately began 3d printing frames, assembling units and delivering to local medical professionals in need.
Over the course of 3 weeks the ShieldsUP community manufactured, assembled and delivered over 13,700 face shields fulfilling more than 1,100 individual requests from medical professionals around the country, all from the confined comfort of their own homes.
In addition to this we had countless media and news articles raising awareness, which grew the team to over 600 members. Together we laser cut 18,000 shields, consumed 5km of elastic, and 3d printed 15,300 shield frames using over 123km of 3d printing filament. Ohh, and we also successfully raised more than $100,000 to contribute towards the cost of materials used...