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Printing Out A Solution For The COVID-19 Problem

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A community of high tech volunteers is also stepping up to the COVID-19 challenge.

CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reports on a network of helpers and their 3D printers.

Humming along is a 3D printer helping a North Side family step in to protect hospital workers in the age of coronavirus.

Richard Beien is running a machine that's churning out certified protective medical shields, intended for nearby Swedish Covenant Hospital.

"I am an avid 3D printer. It's a passion of mine," said Beien, who is also an industrial engineer. "They usually use this protection on top of an N-95 mask, sometimes even a cloth mask."

But this story stretches beyond one family's good deeds.  Beien has tweaked the designs, posting them on a Facebook page, 3D Printed Face Shields for Swedish, so anyone with a printer can join the cause.

"This is an open source file that everyone can use and we are giving away for free," Beien said.

The response has been overwhelming. From their basements and garages to workshops, dozens with 3D printers have created and dropped off 750 face shields.

The socially distancing staff at Swedish posted their gratitude.

"On behalf of Swedish ER and the entire hospital, I want to thank you so much. We are very grateful."

"This is an open source file that everyone can use, and we are giving away for free,

"The three pins that hold the sheets onto the headpiece were my idea," said Deborah Beien.

She is Richard's mom. She not only helped with the design, but manages the Facebook effort and is touched by the spirit of giving.

"There's hope for humanity," Deborah said.

"It's heartwarming," added Richard. "Every day a new person is showing up and it's a completely selfless act."

There's a next chapter in this effort. The Beiens are now ramping up efforts to supply more hospitals with shields, because more volunteers keep rising to the challenge.

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