Medical professionals model a new 3D printed mask designed by Amazon.

Photo from Amazon

Inspired by Washington 3D printing hobbyists who designed their own face shield, Amazon asked its mechanical design and hardware teams in their Prime Air division to see if they could do one, too.

Yes, design and production may appear to be outside of Amazon’s wheelhouse. But within a week, engineers in their drone unit coordinated with the open-source group, taking the initial design and drastically improving it.

The resulting design was then shared as an open-source file that others could use to print the new 3D printed face shields. Not by the hundreds or thousands, but by the hundreds of thousands. The company’s know-how and expertise in supply chain and manufacturing will allow Amazon to sell masks on its marketplace at a significantly lower cost than similar products on the market.

The design has already received approval from the National Institutes of Health, meaning it can be used by healthcare workers. Amazon donated the first 10,000 face shields to frontline healthcare workers and 20,000 more are on the way as the company ramps up production. It should have hundreds of thousands available on in the next few weeks, available at-cost.

Dozens of Washington companies have accepted the challenge of manufacturing personal protect equipment, or PPEs, from masks and face shields to gowns. Companies that just a couple months ago were manufacturing aircraft interiors and outdoor recreation apparel have turned on a dime to help the state deal with a national shortage of protective gear. As businesses reopen, the demand for PPEs will increase significantly and Washington’s manufacturers have risen to the challenge, ready to meet the challenges the future holds.

It’s just another shining example of Washington’s pioneer spirit, collaborative culture and can-do attitude, even in times of tremendous sacrifice and uncertainty.

For more information on Amazon’s face shield initiative, visit Geek Wire.