Northeast Wisconsin community comes together to make face shields

KEWAUNEE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Most of the items that have come out of Tom Rueckl's 3D printer would be considered nonessential.

Community comes together to make 3D printed face shields for people who may need them.

“I printed a belt, I printed an espresso holder, I printed fidget spinners back in the fidget spinner craze,” said Rueckl.

Now, he's printing something very essential. Frames for face shields for those on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus, but before he got started he needed to find material and a workforce.

“I started making some phone calls and looking for the materials that we needed, checking with some friends that I know who have printers,” said Rueckl.

That's where N.E.W Plastics came in with some material.

“With my contacts in the industry we found sheets of plastic that they can use for the shields, it's clear PTFE sheeting,” said Lynie Vincent, Vice President N.E.W Plastics in Luxemburg.

Then Rueckl needed someone to cut the sheets to size, which was done at Laserform LLC in Ashwaubenon.

“This particular laser operator Nick, he stayed back and did all the laser cutting for these shields,” said Ken Destiche, president of Laserform.

The plastic for the printer is coming from Coex in Appleton, which is offering filament at a discounted price for the cause.

People who make the frames can drop them off at Hobby Town U.S.A in Ashwaubenon, where the parts will be put together with a shield.

Just like all these businesses came together, so are others who have 3D printers.

“Right now we got probably 40 printers online here in the local area that are all printing this little model,” said Rueckl.

Rueckl has already given out more than 250 of the shields of the 1,500 he hopes to make.

The face shields have gone to people working in nursing homes, funeral homes, and first responders.

Twelve went to Luxemburg Fire and Rescue.

“We plan to keep three in each squad, and that way we have them for any call we go on,” said Brenda Burdick, Assistant Director of Luxemburg Rescue.

Burdick says the masks are great because they will cover your entire face and can be reused.

“Never in a million years would I have thought we would be making a difference with these little machines like this,” said Rueckl.

If you have a 3D printer and would like to help make the frames click here.