Melrose Center 3D Printers Put to Work to Create PPE for Orlando Health

During quarantine, a team of makers from Orange County Library System has been using Melrose Center 3D printers and resources to create PPE.

In late March, Otronicon exhibitors Orange County Library System’s Melrose Center had their team investigating ways they could 3D print personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals. Working from home with Melrose Center 3D printers from the Fab Lab (a makerspace in the facility that offers hands-on classes and equipment for DIY projects), the team has been hard at work making visors, ear extenders and tension release bands for medical face shields by 3D printing or molding with liquid acrylic. Budmen Industries, a company that designs and sells 3D printers, provided files to staff to help create these PPE.

Fab Lab Instructor Harold Singh, using supplies at his home makerspace, began the initial process of printing these needed parts. With the help of his daughter, who works in the ICU, he delivered them to Orlando Health. At the same time, Fab Lab Instructor Yesenia Arroyo connected with the Central and South Florida chapters of the nonprofit Open Source COVID-19 Medical Supplies, a group working to connect makerspaces with medical professionals in need around the world. Soon after, the group received information from Orlando Health with details on what equipment could be accepted and work began. 


“The Melrose Center’s Fab Lab team is really happy to be able to join the maker community’s efforts to help our health care workers,” said Jim Myers, Department Head of The Dorothy Lumley Melrose Center for Technology, Innovation and Creativity. “They are a focused and energized bunch, and glad to be in a position to make a small difference. I’m really proud of them.”


Orange County Library System man wearing 3D printed PPE equipment

In early April, Arroyo and fellow Fab Lab Instructors Jennifer Michalicek and Frank Mackey each took home a Melrose Center 3D printer, filament and other supplies from the Fab Lab. Melrose staff now have four printers creating face shield parts, which take around two hours each to complete. Singh has also created a rubber mold of the visor frame and can produce an additional four per hour using liquid acrylic.


After creating and preparing the final products, staff were directed to Orlando Health’s drop off center.  As of April, the team had made and delivered 426 face shield visors, 102 ear extenders and 40 tension release bands. Production is expected to continue, Orange County Library System is privileged to help community medical professionals in this small way.  

Orange County Library System woman works makes PPE equipment for Orlando Health

Central Florida PPE Maker Movement Needs YOU to Join the Cause!

In Central Florida, PPE shortages have brought local Makers together even though we're all staying apart. 

In times of crisis it’s admirable to see how many people are eager to step up and lend a hand. But with so many needs to fill for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), it can be difficult to know where to start, or what you can do to help fill the Central Florida PPE pipeline. Don't get overwhelmed! Everyone is capable of becoming a PPE hero. You just need the right tools and direction. Here are some tips on helping the cause.

Join an existing organization!

There are many organizations that have pulled together and are successfully optimizing their resources. The Maker Effect Foundation and Orlando Face Mask Strong are local responses for Central and South Florida. They work directly with healthcare providers and first responders to ensure they’re creating the supplies that are most in demand and are front line worker-approved designs. Find an organization near you!


There are more way to donate than you think. While financial contributions and face masks are consistent needs, there are many way to contribute to the Central Florida PPE makers.


  1. Loan or donate equipment.
    Many large organizations are accepting equipment such as sewing machines, 3D printers and filament, and laser cutters.
  2. Donate materials.
    Extra fabric, elastic, printer filament, and more can all go to use. If you have materials lying around that may work for PPE, contact the groups above to see if they need them or can point you in the right direction. 
  3. Donate your time and skills.
    Can't sew? No problem! Many nonprofit organizations are in need of volunteers to help with project management  and running materials to keep their operations moving smoothly.
  4. Share it on social.
    Simply spreading awareness can go a long way! Sharing this article or the needs of your local groups on your personal social media outlets can work wonders. You never know who has the skills, equipment, or time to make a huge difference!

Stay Informed!

As situations and supply chains change, the needs of an organization may change as well.


It’s always a good idea to ask what supplies are most in demand. along with Open Source Medical Supplies and Nation of Makers are working together to have a single national database of PPE needs and suppliers to enable more rapid response at scale:


Please remember that not all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is created equally and to do your research to ensure your masks will be as effective as possible.


Here are some medically reviewed PPE Design sites:

Thank you to all of our Central Florida PPE heroes!