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Midland Navy Recruiter prints face shields to fight COVID-19

Using a 3D-printer, bought with donated funds, one man is doing what he can to help the medical community

SAN ANTONIO — As the nation faces the COVID-19 Pandemic, one Sailor with Navy Recruiting District San Antonio is doing his part to stop the spread.

Aviation Maintenance Administration man 2nd Class Elias Grey is not stepping up in the way you would expect a recruiter assigned to Navy Recruiting Station Midland would.

During his off-duty time, Grey is creating 3D-printed face shields for medical personnel.

In an interview with Navy Recruiting Command, Grey explained he is building the shields with hospitals in mind.

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“Right now, I am producing shields for three local hospitals to include Medical Center Hospital, Odessa Regional Medical Center, and Midland Memorial Hospital,” said Grey. “I am projecting before April 14, that I’ll be printing 100 face shields per day due to the influx of donations to purchase additional 3D printers and plastic to print with.”

Credit: NewsWest 9

Grey started in the Permian Basin, where there aren't as many confirmed cases as other parts of the state, for one important reason.

"The idea is to stay proactive, get ahead of it, get some printers going, and keep up with the production so that the medical staff will be safely working near the COVID patients," Grey said.

Grey plans to start with the local hospitals including the Odessa Regional Medical Center because they have an immediate need for protective masks.

Grey, who has been a 3D printer enthusiast for several years, joined the Facebook 3D-Printing community.

There he collaborated with others on how they could help provide supplies as hospitals began to face shortages of personal protective equipment.

Grey only has two 3D printers right now but hopes to expand the operation.

"What I’d like to do is continue to grow while we are working in this situation we’re all in, and I don’t want to take the light. I would like Odessa and Midland and surrounding areas to come together, and we could make this all about the community," Grey said.

When this is all finally over and done with, Grey says he will donate the 3D printers and materials to local high schools and colleges in the Midland/Odessa area.