Making 3D printed protective masks for essential medical workers


When Fonterra’s Senior Research Technologist Richard Lloyd packed up his laptop to work from home for the lockdown, he also got the OK to take the 3-D printer with him and has been putting it to good use for the community.

With protective gear in short supply, Richard is using the printer to produce free orange frames for protective face shields for essential health workers in the area.

Richard has linked in with an online community called Shields Up who are co-ordinating production of the shields right around the country through crowd funding:

The idea came from Richard’s wife who mentioned a news story about the shortage of protective gear, including face masks, for medical staff.

While the 3-D printer is usually used for prototyping lab equipment and packaging at Fonterra’s Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North, Richard says it has been good to be able to put it to use to help protect essential workers in the local community.  

 “I love building stuff and I thought there must be a way we can help out with some of the great technology we have at work,” says Richard. I contacted Shields Up and downloaded the programme and started producing the shields.

I can produce around 12 shields a day and while it is a small number, when I delivered the first batch, the people were really grateful and it was great to be able to support them.

Richard Lloyd, Fonterra Senior Research Technologist