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a person wearing blue medical gloves holding a face shield


a person wearing blue medical gloves holding a face shield


Manufacturing PPE to Support Medical Staff

April 13 — 2020 | Santa Cruz, California

*Update: Increased PPE Capacity and First Responders in the Lost Sierras Take Deliveries*

After quickly adapting to a new way of working, the Santa Cruz Composites team has really hit their stride producing PPE. Alongside volunteers from every department in the company and together with our neighbors at Ibis Cycles, we’ve been able to collectively double the volume of face shields we could have produced from our Factory alone.

All this hard work is paying off outside the building; our friends at the Lure and the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship distributed some of these masks to first responders in Downieville, Sierra City, Graeagle, Quincy, Loyalton, and Sierravile recently. If that’s not Bikes as a Force for Good, we don’t know what is.

2 members of Eastern Plumas Fire Department
3 members of Eastern Plumas Fire Department

Thanks to everyone who’s contributing to the effort for our local communities and beyond. This post is updated periodically as efforts at the Factory progress.

Although Santa Cruz, California is in a shelter-in-place like most of the world, Santa Cruz Bicycles’ R&D team is at work producing face shields (PPE) for local medical staff using sheets of plastic cut using their CNC machinery typically used for cutting carbon fiber as well as 3D printers used for prototyping.

3d printed face shield frame
Former Santa Cruz Engineer (now project manager) Zach Wick wearing an N-95 Face mask and a face shield

The equipment is able to make up to 20 face shield lenses every 9 minutes, yielding ~1000 shields per day. Ten days were spent evaluating designs, developing multiple prototypes and getting feedback from local healthcare professionals to ensure the end product suited their needs.

3D printers are used to make reusable and sterilizable support frames using open source CAD designs. Enough material has been procured to produce 8,000 face shields in two different designs in the next week. 75 face shields from the pilot run were delivered to the Santa Cruz County Donation Center today.

cnc machinery that is used to cut plastic for face shields
plastic material stacked
a 3d printer creating face shields

The team isn’t working in isolation, this is a community effort, working with volunteers, medical professionals and other local companies to coordinate efforts into effective and rapid action to address the anticipated needs. With a little help from everyone, we’ll get through this together and come out as an even tighter community on the other side.

A big high-five to our crew in the carbon lab: Nic McCrae, Zach Wick, and Joe Doty — directed by Joe Graney.