Young brothers mobilize community to 3D print face shields for essential workers

Posted at 1:19 PM, May 29, 2020

From the setbacks of COVID-19 comes innovation.

That's what happened when these two brothers from Hemet, California, realized their passion for robotics could help the community.

"It first started as us 3D printing things for our family, because our dad and grandparents see patients and are in the medical field at hospitals, in their office, and at nursing homes. We wanted to help keep them safe," said 12-year-old Tenzing Carvalho.

With their 3D printer, the brothers began making face shields designed by the UCSF 3D Printed Face Shield Project .

"This design takes a little longer, because it's FDA approved, and it's more durable," explained 14-year-old Zubin Carvalho.

While they initially set out to help medical workers, the brothers realized early on that many more essential workers could benefit from their face shields.

They noticed volunteers with the Hemet Unified School District were coming into contact with hundreds of people during weekly food drives. While the volunteers were wearing face masks, the brothers wanted to offer them more protection knowing that the virus can spread through the eyes.

"We were scrambling to get the gear to keep our people safe, but we knew we had a higher calling, and we just needed to get this done," said Shannyn Cahoon, principal of West Valley High School.

Cahoon says 100 percent of her high school students qualify for free and reduced meals.

"We don't know what's going on at home right now; we know that some of our families are in a dire situation," said Cahoon.

To help more workers, the brothers needed more 3D printers.

Knowing machines were going unused in empty schools, they managed to convince the staff at seven high schools and eight elementary schools to lend them theirs.

"There's innovation at its best, here's some young children that are not just sitting at home waiting for something to happen. They're making something happen to make lives better for all of us," said Teresa McFarland, principal at Harmony Elementary School.

The brothers are now getting requests from around the country and are recruiting help from other robotics teams, printing 2,500 shields and counting.

They've named the project 'SoCal Face Shields for Frontline Workers'.

"We've also supplied it to custodial, cafeteria, postal and grocery and retail workers," said Tenzing.

To learn more about the project or to donate, click here .