For those that are unaware, I am a pediatric dentist by profession. I work with a group of seven doctors and 37 staff. Nearly all of the procedures we perform (tooth cleanings, filling, crowns, etc) create an aerosol. This is problematic in the current viral pandemic because the aerosol could put everyone at risk. So, we know we will need to change our PPE (personal protective equipment) when we reopen our practice.
Because all of the PPE is being directed to medical facilities, as a dentist, it is nearly impossible to obtain face shields and masks. In anticipation of this being a problem, when my son came home from NYC, I spent some time talking with him about 3D printers and how to use one to make our own masks and face shields. I am very fortunate that, as an architecture student, he has lots of experience with several types of printers.
With his help, several weeks ago I purchased a Prusa printer kit. I ordered a kit for two reasons. First, it was less expensive and I could get a better printer for less cost. And, more importantly, the cost of the kit was just below the limit for having to pay import duties. The kit took 18 days to arrive. I am really glad I ordered when I did, because the estimate now is 5-6 weeks.
When the kit arrived, we needed to build the printer. Okay, to be honest, it was mostly my son who put it together. But, I did do a couple hours of the process. The kit was like trying to build a house sold by IKEA! The manual for putting it together was 225 pages long. Fortunately the directions and photos were excellent.
It was exciting when the build was completed. The first thing we printed was one of the sample files that came with the printer. It was a tree frog.
Since the plan is to print things for use in my dental office, I wanted to verify that the printed items could be sterilized in our office steam autoclave. I took the frog to one of my offices and tested it in the autoclave. The plastic filament was not impacted by the heat or the steam. However, I forgot that the frog was printed as a hollow form with air trapped inside. So, when the air heated up and expanded, it caused the belly of the frog to pop out. I now have a pregnant looking frog!!. This should not be a problem with the other items I plan to print because they do not have a large space with trapped air.
I am in the process of testing out different face shield and mask ideas. I’ll give an update on those in a few days.
In the meantime, and keeping with the frog theme, I thought I would give some information about a new piece of garden art that is in my flower bed. Over the winter, one of the glass projects I made was a really cute frog.
The construction of this was somewhat similar to the turtle that I made last summer (July 14, 2019 post). It has a copper understructure with copper wire legs soldered and the glass attached to the copper. When making it, I didn’t want to mess around with creating a custom slumping mold to “shape” the frog. So, I left the glass flat. Once the flowers start growing, I think this will be really cute in my garden.
Who knew there were so many inspirational quotes about frogs (google it and see for yourself)!