GPO employee 3D prints face shields for hospital

David Thibodeau has created and delivered 27 face shields and 60 surgical mask tension-release bands

David Thibodeau, 40, an IT specialist at the GPO, has used 3D printing to produce medical supplies for a hospital in Maryland.
David Thibodeau, 40, an IT specialist at the GPO, has used 3D printing to produce medical supplies for a hospital in Maryland.
Posted April 14, 2020 at 8:24am

A Government Publishing Office employee is using his 3D printing talents to produce face shields for staff at a local hospital to help frontline workers fight the coronavirus pandemic.

David Thibodeau, 40, an IT specialist at the agency, has created and delivered 27 face shields and 60 surgical mask tension-release bands for the staff at Holy Cross Germantown Hospital in Maryland. He made the medical items using a Prusa i3 MK3 3D printer. Thibodeau intends to continue his work to produce between 25 to 35 face shields a week.

“I’m going to keep making them until they tell me to stop or the situation is over with,” Thibodeau said.

Thibodeau’s 3D printing station. (Tetyana Rudenko/contributed photo)

Each face shield takes him about four-and-a-half hours to make.

Thibodeau was personally affected by the coronavirus outbreak from the outset — his parents were quarantined on the Grand Princess cruise ship and were later moved to Georgia.

“It was really stressful when they were on the boat. They spent a week and a half on an air base in Georgia. The process of getting them home safely was really impressive and inspiring to me,” he said.

Thibodeau said he was motivated by the tireless work of nurses, doctors and other medical professionals. Additionally, Prusa, the maker of his 3D printer, sent an email showing customers how they could get involved.

Thibodeau got in touch with Greg Jolissaint, a doctor on the Incident Management Team at Holy Cross Health. Jolissaint sent him a picture of a face shield. Thibodeau then found the models online, put them together and started printing.

“Our Montgomery County community has been uniquely generous as they donated money, catered meals, donated cleaning supplies, and donated or fabricated personal protective equipment,” Jolissaint said in an email. “One of those donors was David Thibodeau who personally produced Face Shields that will allow our Holy Cross colleagues to safely provide high quality care for COVID patients in our Silver Spring and Germantown Hospitals.”

Thibodeau, who has been working at the GPO since 2017, dropped off his first batch of equipment on April 10.

“Kudos to Mr. Thibodeau for volunteering to create face shields for those risking their lives on the front lines,” said GPO Director Hugh Halpern. “His work alone will make a difference in combatting COVID-19. His ‘get-it-done’ attitude is a great example for others on the GPO team and throughout the community of how we can each take initiative to help our Nation get through this pandemic.”

The GPO is responsible for producing and distributing official publications to Congress, agencies and the public. U.S. passports are produced by the agency.