Faced With Urgent Community Needs, CSUEU Members Stepped Up Their Game In an unprecedented and dramatic shift of academic focus, teams of students, faculty and support staff across the CSU have mobilized to design, laser-cut and 3-D print a commodity more prized these days than gold: Protective face shields for health care workers who are risking their lives to save others. Collectively over the past month, the groups – working on their own projects from CSU Channel Islands, Long Beach and Bakersfield – have produced more than 1,000 face shields. They are provided to area hospitals desperately short on personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff whose work brings them face-to-face with highly contagious COVID-19 patients. Bobby Hartsock works at CSU Bakersfield as a Fab Lab Specialist where he was challenged by his director to explore using the campus’ 3-D printers and lasers to manufacture any PPE in short supply. They settled on making face shields, which help medical personnel to stay safe from infectious diseases, such as coronavirus that can spread through droplets. Read more about CSU Bakersfield’s PPE work here . “I'm fairly confident in saying that when it comes down to it, all these people are going to do their jobs whether or not the PPE is available,” said Bobby, whose wife is a nurse practitioner, one sister-in-law is an ER nurse, and another sister-in-law is about to obtain her nursing degree. “Compared to the real heroes who are out there confronting the virus in person on a daily basis, there is very little risk to me running 3D printers and laser cutters in a lab. I think of it more as being the guy behind the scenes who gives the actual heroes some of the tools they need to do their jobs safely and effectively.” One 3D printer can make 12 face shields a day. Bakersfield’s Fab Lab has delivered more than 500 face shields to Kern County Public Health Services Department, which distributes them based on needs. Currently, first responders are experiencing the greatest shortage. With the help of local businesses, Bobby estimates the lab is producing 250 shields per week. At CSU Channel Islands, Computer Science Lab Technician Ricky Medrano was working from home in March when he saw in the news that 3D face shields were in high demand. He was considering doing something on his own when he heard others on campus were contemplating the same ideas. Soon, a group of students, volunteers, faculty and private sector businesses pitched in. Now, Ricky said, “My printer is running in my bedroom 24 hours a day. It’s the white noise I go to bed with.” Ventura County Medical Center has been the beneficiary. Read more about efforts from Channel Islands here. Working at CSU Long Beach’s Innovation Space Lab, Loc Luong is used to working with engineering and graphic design students to bring their ideas into 3D fruition. An Instructional Support Technician with an engineering degree, Loc might be asked to laser-cut a phone holder, lunch box, or a wrench – anything students’ creativity might conjure. Making life-saving face shields is brand new territory, Loc said. Read more about I-Space’s work on face shields here . “I never thought I would be doing this,” he said. “I feel privileged to be a part of this. Our whole team, there’s only four of us, we’re very proud. It’s exhausting but when we deliver and see people wear it, it all pays off.” Loc’s team at I-Space includes: Dr. Chris Beyer , the technical director; and Monica Robles and Cesar Sigala , both of whom are Instructional Support Technicians II. Printing is the most time-consuming part of the task. The group churns out about 50 shields a day.