Danny Day: Printing Protection For Front-Line Workers
Danny Day got into 3D printing by coincidence: His real hobby was drone racing, and when he couldn’t find repair parts for his drones, Day began creating them with a 3D printer. As the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, Day – an Allstate agency owner in Redding, California – read about fellow 3D printing hobbyists in Europe who were creating personal protective equipment (PPE) using their printers.
“I started wondering, ‘Could our local hospital or Urgent Care Center even buy something like that on the open market because of how much competition there is for [PPE]?,’” Day told The Renewal Project, an Allstate partnership with The Atlantic that celebrates innovation in communities across the country.
So, Day contacted the infection control team at Redding’s Mercy Medical Center, then based on their input created an all-plastic face shield that’s easy to adjust and clean. Using their four 3D printers, Day’s family manufactured their first batch of 25 face shields and delivered them to Mercy on March 28.
Four days later, local TV station KRCR ran a story about the Days’ endeavor.
“From that moment on, every morning I would wake up to phone call after phone call begging for face shields from all over California,” Day said.
At their peak, the family was running 14 printers, 21 hours a day, producing 60 face shields each run. The printer manufacturer, Craftunique, donated several printers. Day also got a grant for free filament, the plastic used to make the objects. An online fundraising effort generated more than $3,600 to support the production.
“Our home turned into a factory,” Day said. In total, he estimates they’ve printed 4,000 face shields.
Day’s 9-year-old daughter, Rileigh, was already adept at creating toys for her dad’s office: fidget spinners to keep kids occupied while their parents discussed insurance options. He was thrilled for her to help printing face shields.
The way Day sees it, this is a moment in history his daughter will remember.
“They will talk about the things that people did — making things, just like they did in the war effort. Families made things. Moms went to factories and worked,” he said. “You had a factory in your house. … You made a mark.”