ROSELLE, NJ — During these times of uncertainty, front-line workers are in serious need of personal protective equipment, such as masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves. One Roselle resident saw their need as a call to arms and has joined the fight against COVID-19 by providing self-made face shields to front-line health care workers.
After New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order to close all nonessential businesses went into effect, Erick Cedano, who had to close his family’s long-standing photography and video business temporarily last month, had no idea how busy he was about to become.
“I own a small professional photography studio since January 2005, where we also cover events such as weddings, sweet 16 parties, offering photo booths and video services,” Cedano said to LocalSource on April 25. “The order was necessary to halt the COVID-19 spread but has been a hard one, especially since the ‘small businesses’ definition is misleading in Washington, D.C., and does not cover businesses that most people identify as local small businesses. My store has not received any financial support from the federal government as of yet, even after I applied for an EIDL SBA loan. Now, as many others, I am in limbo with the small business relief.”
Since the temporary closing of his business, Cedano has spent his time making face shields at his shop to help protect the first responders of his own town. The idea came to him out of concern for his daughter.
“Initially, I just wanted to print a few face shields for my daughter, who is a radiology technician; a friend’s daughter and my cousin who are nurses; a few friends that are police officers; and for a friend who works transporting elderly dialysis patients in Union County,” Cedano said. “When I realized that my local EMT and police department were lacking personal protective equipment, I then decided to produce and donate 100 shields, enough for their entire organization.”
After searching for free designs online but unsatisfied with what he found, Cedano created his own prototype, with the help of his two 3D printers, all within the confines of his own shop.
“Since my small business is closed, I use the areas designated for office and studio photography,” Cedano said of his process for making the face shields. “Using my own design, the face shields are 3D printed using PLA, which is a thermoplastic derived from renewable resources, such as cornstarch, tapioca roots, chips and sugarcane. The shield’s shape is made of a 10-mil transparent PET, cut to shape on a template I designed using a Cricut Maker device.”
Cedano puts a lot of time into making and packaging the face shields that he designed.
“It takes me about three hours to complete one shield,” Cedano said. “The reason it takes three hours is because my design is modular in four parts. The four parts are frame, hood, base and shield. After all parts are printed, they get assembled, cleaned and packaged with my wife’s help. We additionally include in each package a cleaning note along with an individually wrapped cleaning wipe.”
The former president of the Roselle Board of Education and 2015 David Sarnoff awardee for Advocacy and Community Engagement, Cedano works at all hours of the day, including at night, to provide face shields for those who lack them.
He encourages others who have the available resources to make face shields as well.
“So far, I have completed about 120 masks,” Cedano said. “Twenty of them have been given to friends, family and an eye doctor’s office in Roselle Park. The rest are going to my town’s first responders. The ones already completed will be donated. We encourage anyone that has a 3D printer to use our design and join our 100 face shields challenge, donating them to your local first responders or anyone in the medical field. Our face shield design and cutting template are totally free and are available at www.thingiverse.com/thing:4271251.”
Placed in the position to help others, Cedano finds himself helping the community once more by providing what he can within his capacity.
“It gives me plenty of satisfaction to know that I am helping to protect the health of those that are there for us when needed,” Cedano said. “I truly hope it inspires others to engage and participate.”