• May 26, 2020

Navy recruiter helps local hospitals - Odessa American: Local News

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  • 3-D Impact

    In a room dedicated to producing face shields at Odessa Bible Church, Elias Grey checks the progress of a batch of 3-D printed face shields Wednesday afternoon. Able to print up to 13 shields a day with one printer, Grey has ordered 6 more 3-D printers thanks to donations raised and will be able to produce hundreds of masks a week for hospitals in need.

Posted: Monday, April 6, 2020 4:00 am

When Elias Grey first fired up his 3-D printer, he didn’t foresee the immediate impact he would have in the Odessa-Midland area to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The 29-year-old Navy recruiter started printing face shields about a week ago with one 3-D printer and now he has the backing of 30 printers, which can help feed the needs of Odessa Regional Medical Center, Medical Center Hospital and Midland Memorial Hospital.

Grey started a GoFundMe account on March 27 with an initial goal of $3,000, which he said was reached in three days. Grey has received additional monetary donations, supplies to make the face shields and people willing to help assemble them.

The operation that Grey started grew larger when Texas Tech, Odessa College and Midland College got involved.

It restored my faith in humanity that so many people wanted to help,” Grey said about his one-man project evolving into a much longer venture. “I really don’t want to be the face. I would like this to be that West Texans came together and pushed all of these face shields out to places that needed them. ”

When Grey began printing face shields, he was printing them at his house.

The operation quickly grew larger with the assistance of Grey’s place of worship, Odessa Bible Church, which is letting him use their cafeteria space. Odessa Bible Church will serve as the main hub for the Odessa-Midland area.

If you print at home or you print at a college, you will drop it off here,” Grey said. “We are going to process it.”

With the funds that he has received personally and through GoFundMe along with the donated supplies and volunteer hours, Grey has already purchased six more 3-D printers, an additional printer that will be donated, and he believes he has the materials to make more than 100 face shields per day.

Grey explained that he initially began his 3-D printing journey focused solely on face shields, but he expects that need to change to ventilator values. Grey said it takes about three times longer to print a ventilator value than it does to print one face shield.

I would like to stock up on face shields,” Grey said. “We have a spreadsheet of how many (face shields) each place needs and the list is growing each day. Once we catch up with that, we are going to take half the printers and start print ventilators.”

After he’s finished 3-D printing face shields and ventilators, Grey said he will be donating all of the 3-D printers he buys to Midland High, Midland Lee, Odessa High School and Permian High School. He said middle schools or colleges could receive a 3-D printer as well, but for now he’s going to keep his promise to the Odessa-Midland high schools.

Grey said he was able to purchase more 3-D printers than what he originally expected. The six 3-D printers that are expected this month were purchased between $350 and $425. Grey said two years ago he spent $600 on the exact same 3-D printer.

The idea behind this is to benefit multiple organizations,” Grey said. “First are the hospitals. Second are the patients. After all of this is over, I want take these printers and donate them to the high schools. ”

With the help of Odessa Bible Church, Grey said a Facebook group was formed that allows people to help clean and assemble face shields each night. He said the group at the church cafeteria is limited to five people to allow for social distancing.

Grey said after the face shields are cleaned and assembled that those materials will be packed into a box and sit for four days. He said the wait time will ensure that if anyone is infected with the coronavirus that it won’t be spread to medical staff at hospitals.

We are going to be boxing these off and waiting for four days,” he said. “(The virus) can live on a surface for four days, so even if someone came in and they didn’t put their gloves on while they were working or sanitized their hands, we are going to throw (face shields) in a box and wait four days before we give them to an organization.

(The organization) will also use their sterilization. We are going to sterilize on this end and they are going to sterilize on their end to prevent any possible contraction.”

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