3-D printer provides PPE for West Coast General Hospital

3-D printer provides PPE for West Coast General Hospital

City of Port Alberni purchases 3-D printers to help with pandemic

A Port Alberni businessman has been putting his 3-D printing hobby to use by making personal protective equipment (PPE) for local frontline workers.

Kevin Wright, the owner of House Medic Handyman Service in Port Alberni, has printed hundreds of face shields for West Coast General Hospital and nearby care homes since COVID-19 arrived on Vancouver Island in March.

Wright said he was contacted by a local nurse who was concerned about the need for PPEs at the hospital.

“She told me they had already started rationing here,” Wright said. “The procedures, the way they’re doing things has substantially changed because of COVID-19.”

Wright is not the only creator stepping up to help out during the pandemic. In the Cowichan Valley, a group called “Project Draw Breath” is using 3-D printers to create ventilator masks. Wright is also a member of a Facebook group called “Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies” that connects makers across the world with medically vetted, open-source plans to create and distribute protective gear and equipment.

READ MORE: A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

READ MORE: Cowichan’s ‘Project Draw Breath’ team expands and diversifies

“At least half [of the members] are 3-D printers from around the world,” explained Wright. “Medical professionals have been joining forces to help us understand the materials we should be using, processes we should be following.”

Wright partnered with Alberni-based company Houle Printing to provide the plastic covers for the shields, and the City of Port Alberni has stepped up to help by purchasing an extra 10 3-D printers and some additional filament at a cost of $3,400. The funding came out of the city’s ecnomic development budget. The printers will be used as “backup” to Wright’s five personal printers. If they are not needed, economic development manager Pat Deakin says the city will attempt to recoup the costs of the printers by selling them or will donate them to local schools.

“It appeared to us [at the city] that this might be an opportunity to address what seemed to be a profound need in the community,” explained Deakin.

“The city’s been very helpful,” Wright acknowledged.

After “lots of consultation” with local nurses and doctors, Wright delivered the first 100 face shields to West Coast General Hospital on Monday, March 30. He was immediately asked to make 200 more.

“They’re hoping to have one for each and every staff member,” said Wright. “Including pharmacy staff, cleaning staff.”

The Alberni Health Care Auxiliary (formerly the WCGH Auxiliary) donated $1,500 to cover the cost of making the masks for the hospital.

As of Monday, April 6, Wright has printed 550 face shields in total. Three hundred have gone to the hospital, 200 will be going to Fir Park and Echo Villages and an additional 50 will go towards pharmacies, medical labs, store clerks and taxis. Wright estimates that he has put in about 1,000 printer hours since mid-March.

“I’ve been printing all day every day,” said Wright. “It’s an hour and 30 minutes just to make the frame.”

Along with time, a major issue for Wright is the cost to make the face shields. Anyone interested in donating to this venture can reach out to Wright on Facebook or contact him by email: kevin.wright@shaw.ca.

Wright has also been experimenting with N95 masks.

“If they run out, we’ll be able to print some,” he said. “Right now, the No. 1 need is face shields. It provides that physical barrier, and a sense of defence.”

In the meantime, Wright says he is “having fun” making the face shields out of different colours, as opposed to the conventional blue or black.

“I’m trying to make them as cheerful as humanly possible,” he laughed.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Some of the face shield frames that Port Alberni businessman Kevin Wright has made for local frontline workers. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Some of the face shield frames that Port Alberni businessman Kevin Wright has made for local frontline workers. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Just Posted

The new council for Hupacasath First Nation. From left to right: Councillor Ricky-Lee Watts, Chief Councillor Brandy Lauder, Councillor Jolleen Dick and Councillor Warren Lauder. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Hupacasath First Nation chooses new chief councillor, council

First change of leadership in a decade for Vancouver Island nation

A trailer with fire damage is taped off by the Port Alberni Fire Department at the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Fire knocked down at Wintergreen Apartments trailer

City is concerned about zoning, building code and fire code infractions surrounding the trailers

File photo of Gord Johns during World Oceans Day.
Courtenay-Alberni MP outlines priorities for federal budget

Universal pharmacare, affordable housing and Pacific wild salmon are some of the… Continue reading

Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Lukas Jirousek pokes the puck away from Grizzlies forward Henri Schreifels during a game at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Sunday, April 11, 2021. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Career night for Castagna can’t lift Alberni Valley Bulldogs past Victoria

Back-and-forth affair between Bulldogs and Grizzlies ends 7-5 for visiting team

Logging Camp Nine on Great Central Lake overlooks a large forest fire across the lake in this historical photo from May 1943. Camp Nine was bustling, with residences for logging camp staff, a rail line and rail cars visible. This is one of 24,000 photos contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, available for public viewing at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN12220 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: Great Central Lake’s sawmill

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Vally Museum

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A Nanaimo man will serve nine months in jail for the sexual assault of a young girl he admitted to having committed more than 40 years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo man sentenced for sexually abusing girl more than 40 years ago

Man, now 71, gets nine-month sentence for abuse of friend’s daughter

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read