The Real Lessons About 3D Printed Face Shields: Effective Engineering Response In Times Of Crisis

3D printed face shields and other health equipment is big news right now. Not long ago, Prusa Research rapidly designed and manufactured 3D printed face shields and donated them to the Czech Ministry of Health. Their effort is ongoing, and 3D printers cranking out health equipment like the NIH approved design has been peppering headlines ever since.

The Important Part Isn’t 3D Printers

The implied takeaway from all the coverage is that 3D printers are a solution to critical equipment shortages, but the fact that 3D printers are involved isn’t really the important part. We all know printers can make plastic parts, so what should be the real takeaway? The biggest lessons we can learn about Prusa’s ongoing effort are related to how they’ve gone about it.

The situation was that health workers were short on face shields (among other things) and the usual supply couldn’t meet the demand for items that were needed yesterday. Prusa Research was able to create a design, and validate it with experts and end users in record time. Confirming that a design meets actual needs is an important step, but it’s not the only one.

Just as important is ensuring that a design’s execution is appropriate for the environment, and that meant conferring with experts and getting their buy-in and approval. In the case of the face shields, manufacturing them needed to go hand-in-hand with proper handling and packaging. Josef Prusa spells it all out carefully in his original blog post, along with making it clear that making face shields wasn’t the only solution explored, but it was identified as the one that was most appropriate at the time.

It’s one thing to run some 3D printers and drop off the resulting box of parts if all one is interested in are high fives and congratulatory selfies, maybe a triumphant social media post on the side. But if solving a problem meaningfully is the real goal, then the bar is set somewhat higher.

How to Make Sure a Solution Actually Solves Something

Prusa Research did many things besides design and 3D print face shield parts. They coordinated closely with end users and experts, validated the design with them, and delivered something that met a specific need in a very short time. It’s a brilliant story, but it’s an even better example of how to make certain that an engineering solution actually solves a real problem.

How does one make sure a problem-solving effort is appropriate? Follow these three simple (but not necessarily easy) steps:

  1. Ensure the solution is addressing a problem that actually exists in the first place.
  2. Verify that the solution meets the needs of the people who are actually involved.
  3. Execute the solution in a way appropriate to the environment for which it is destined.

How does one judge whether a solution does in fact accomplish those things? The only judges that matter are the people and experts on the receiving end, so it ultimately must come from them. Otherwise, as our own Jenny List observed, swooping in with an engineering solution may feel good, but probably won’t accomplish much besides a boost to one’s ego.

The 3D Printing is Solved, But Other Problems Exist

Besides what Prusa Research is doing, there are other organizations eager to leverage 3D printing to help with equipment shortfalls and a lack of headlines. Running 3D printers is a solved problem and a workable design is out in the wild, but that still leaves other problems such as:

  1. How best to get 3D printed devices into the hands of people who need them, and
  2. Who picks up the bill after the news organizations have gone and everyone else at the table looks elsewhere and fidgets nervously.

Here are two different efforts that try to focus on those connected problems.

Covidstop.ca

A Canadian initiative acting as a portal to connect people who volunteer to make things with the people and organizations requesting those things. It’s being spearheaded by Shop3D who aims to provide pre-paid shipping labels and, as necessary, refund material costs for volunteers able to turn excess filament into face shield parts. (Volunteers need only make the 3D printed parts; other components such as clear plastic sheets are being donated by other suppliers.)

This approach is interesting because the problem being addressed is that the two groups involved — makers on one side, and medical personnel on the other — are not normally the same people. By providing a portal to allow volunteers to make and users to place orders free of charge, it removes the need for the two groups to have to know each other.

Covid-19 Manufacturing Fund

This nonprofit fundraiser by 3DHubs also aims to cover the costs of manufacturing medical equipment (at the moment, only face shields) and provide a way for people and organizations worldwide to request them free of charge. Their approach is to use crowdfunding (and 3DHubs’ global network) so that the funding part can be completely separate. As a result, the locations of the makers, the end users, and the ones picking up the tab don’t matter very much.

How well either of these initiatives succeed will probably be clear sooner rather than later, but what’s clear right now is that they both demonstrate trying to solve problems for which the 3D printing is really only a small part, and that’s good to see.

Things Are Changing Rapidly

Every day brings change and news. If you have read the blog post I mentioned from Prusa in the past, it has probably been updated since you last read it. If you saved their 3D printable face shield design, it has probably been revised more than once since you downloaded it. 3D printing is agile enough to keep up with rapid change, but it’s ultimately only one piece of the problem.

Do you know of any other efforts to solve problems around this issue? Let us know in the comments.

83 thoughts on “The Real Lessons About 3D Printed Face Shields: Effective Engineering Response In Times Of Crisis

    1. wow .. thats some intense commitment.

      With that I think there was another ‘payment’ option that was ignored in the article. There are plenty of people and small companies that are putting payment onto themselves. Lots of people, myself included, have volunteered time, materials, and effort to deliver needed materials to people in our communities. This started for me because of a personal request by a working nurse. Thoughts of payment and how this continues as an ongoing concern were saved for later when that luxury became available.

      1. So, I made a request for emergency/minimal income from the government while my company is not earning anything and my salary is cut off. That was refused, because I earned money for the past 3 months, and you can only get it if you earned 0 the past 3 months ( my salary’s very low, so I’m accumulating debt, not saving money, unfortunately ). Having zero income right now, I really need some, just to survive really, so I asked if I could get that income anyway, and they said I could write a letter to ask to exceptionally get it anyway.
        I’ve been working on writing that letter for hours now, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve done a lot of “volunteer”/”for no money” stuff over the past few years, but putting it down on paper seems “dirty” for some reason. It’s really weird. If they refused to make an exception, I’ll finally cave in, and start a Patreon as I’ve been delaying doing for years, and I’m pretty confident the OSHW community will help more than the gov.

        1. Hope everything works and you get the emergency income.if you do go with the patreon let me know and I’m willing to help .won’t be much from me but I’ll spread the word also to others

  1. While I applaud everyone’s willingness to help using tools at hand, some elastic, glue and a pair of scissors could have been used to make the headband just as well.

    1. Yeah. No. For personally knowing medical personel who had to improvise before they got their printed stuff from the local 3D printer nerds, most people won’t do a really great job if improving something like this with hardware at hand.
      It’s great that you are a god-level hardware-hacker-genuis-extraordinaire, but most people just aren’t ( they are too busy being good at the other stuff they are good at ).

      1. Even within the realm of additive solutions, users are complaining that the wide variety of random designs they’re receiving are a logistical nightmare. Standardization matters, especially when one is dealing with a large institution like a hospital or regional/national healthcare network.

        1. Well, it’s certain that standardized is better than not standardized. The discussion you are joining wasn’t about that though, it was about “you can just make it with a headband, a 3D printer is useless” versus “yeah no in fact there are thousands of medical personel who have been helped by 3D printed parts in the past days, even if the partrs weren’t perfect”

    2. I totally agree with you. I was thinking more like coat hangers or aluminum wire and duct tape and saran wrap for the shield proper. There seems to be this prevailing idea that high tech is needed, when what is really needed is cleverness. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things that 3D printers are just tits at but mass production is not one of them. I would bet you once you got the bends down or got simple wooden jig built you could crank bent wire versions at a rate of over 5 and hour, not 5 a day. And anybody with a hunk of plywood, a supply of coat hangers and some plastic wrap could crank them out. But that would leave your expensive toy sitting idle and we can’t have that.

      1. Saran wrap? You want to
        a) spend your entire working day doing medical care looking through a visor of wrinkly saran wrap
        b) trust your health, potentially your life, to 10 microns of plastic which can easily be punctured with a finger?
        This is the magic “why don’t you just” on the biggest scale I’ve ever seen.

        1. The idea is you have a brain and you don’t go out of your way to puncture it. This obviously is not a solution for you. BTW, you depend on 4 mil gloves to protect your hands that you would expect to take on damage from fingers and finger nails, any rough surface etc. Oh, and they more often than not are stretched. Plastic wrap generally provides protection for food from three aspects: chemical (gases, moisture, and light), biological (microorganisms, insects and animals), and physical (mechanical damage). Why not people? BTW, the “skin” of Apollo 12 was 0.012″ aluminum. If it makes you feel good running your 3D printer go ahead and do it. Personally I think you are pissing on a forest fire instead of trying to come up with more feasible solutions.

        1. A good start, but then you can’t breathe. The solution is to punch a couple of holes in the Saran Wrap near the nostrils so you can breathe, cut out the eye sections so they don’t fog up, and cut a slot near the mouth so you can speak; then you can a perfect solution.

    3. Just a peice of acetate and elastic is all that is needed. Just poke a couple holes and tie the ends. I could make 100 of these an hour.
      There is literally no reason to make it any more complicated other that to publicise a product.

      1. “Just a piece of acetate and elastic is all that is needed”…to stick a piece of acetate right up against your nose, that will fog up on every breath and make it almost impossible to see anything clearly.

        1. « I don’t understand why you’re always complaining about your cancer, Karen. Just eat a plate-full of tacks, that’ll kill the cancer. Dump Karen, can’t figure out obvious solutions to things. »

    4. If you look at what the large companies are doing, Ford started a small production line with a handful of people to make the foam version at 100,000 per week. Apple is making the laser cut version at 1 million per week.

      Just because you have a 3D printer doesn’t mean you should use it when other methods yield higher numbers. When given a choice, health workers prefer disposable items because they don’t have to waste valuable time cleaning them.

      1. Pretty much every maker I know has the same story: I was contacted by desperate medical personel, who the gov didn’t provide with what they need, and who wondered ( or had seen happen in the news ) if I could print some useful stuff for them. Then, me, and thousands of makers all around the country. And in plenty of other countries around the world. All those, have made hardware ( masks, respirators, working on syringe pushers for coma patients, lots of stuff ), and that hardware has already saved a lot of lives. So no, we’re not waiting for Apple.

        1. Completely agree here. Sure, there may be elegant and more mass-manufacturable solutions out there but they often require time to design, a good deal of material and in many cases jigs, guides or other machines to cut to size. Like laser-cut visors from Apple. I don’t have a laser cutter, but I do have a printer and if I can get a few hundred of these shields out to people in good time, then at least that’s helping until some company steps in with their mass manufactured products.
          So far I’ve handed visors out to local pharmacies who absolutely love them, I have about 32 going to another care provider this afternoon and I’m waiting on a response from the local hospital about getting some too.

          It’s all well and good saying “wait for a company to do it better” but in the meantime people are at risk. In the words of Peter Parker: “if bad things happen, and I can do the things I can, and I do nothing, I feel like that’s on me”.

          And it’s all well and good saying “hot glue some elastic to a sheet of acetate and tie it to your head” but that doesn’t take into account the offset from your face required to stop it fogging up constantly or that having a rigid frame is more ideal for keeping the sheet in place and more comfortable for long term wear.

      1. There are thousands of medical professionals who would wholeheartedly disagree with you. This isn’t some theoretical question, this is something that has been widely tested, and things have fallen on the side of “this 3D printing thing isn’t as stupid as it seems”

          1. Exactly. My local hospital had needs immediately, they weren’t met by the state, they contacted the local maker community, and not only got plenty of face shields and other hardware *immediately* ( which the gov wasn’t able to do ), but the *next day* they had an improved version based on their feedback, and the same thing the day after that. And within about 3 days of starting they were printing *thousands* a day ( this is for a city of 200k inhabitants ). For being involved in some of the efforts to mass-produce these nationally, those efforts are still in the preparatory phase right now. 3D printers saved a lot of life just where I am. It’s a fact. From what I know this is also true all over the place.

    5. Sorry but no. That solves 1 problem out of quite a few.

      Are your materials repeatable for a standard? 3d printing isn’t as uniform as mass production methods, but it is more uniform than hand crafting things. While a fab can make millions of items identically, I can make hundreds of items that are more or less exactly the same. We’ve collectivized that into making many thousands while the major companies come online (if they ever do).

      The items need to be standardized so that they medical workers don’t have to worry about variances and have it work each and every time without a band giving out or glue giving way. The design needs to be simple and made with standardized materials so that its able to be disinfected for multiple uses. While some are going to be used 1x others are bring disinfected and brought back. Using glue eliminates several methods of disinfection that are commonly used included steam, soaking in alcohol/bleach or dry heat in the case of hot glue.

      ..and lastly for me. Its gotta be wearable for an entire shift. Lots of this PPE goes on in the morning and does’t come of for 10-12 hours. Thats 1 reason I chose to make the Prusa designs because the wide headband and choice of elastic made it comfortable enough to wear long term. ..and I made sure of that by wearing one for 24 hours before starting production.

  2. The Prusa solution was actually done well, but some others now that have taken bits of it further. My employer looked into this, but with the print times, the solution just wasn’t viable. Our engineering group is now using our laser cutter to make PETG face shields significantly faster (about 20 per hour with our current design). We are also working with local healthcare providers to ensure they could accept them before we went to mass production. Our design is based upon the Proto Shield style, but modified as we were unable to source 0.020″ thickness PETG sheets since everyone bought available stock. We are using 0.040″ and our material supplier said they are selling that faster as well since others are making modified designs for different thicknesses. Lots of ingenuity shining all over right now.

    https://www.protohaven.org/proto-shield/

    We are now using our 3D printers to make hands-free door handle attachments for our main site that is still operating. We modified some open source designs to work better with our door handles as well as to reduce printing times while remaining functional. With just two Ender 3 printers we can make 10 per day. We could only get 6-8 per day with the open source design. We never realized how many doors are actually at our corporate site until we had to make handles for them……

      1. Chicago Public Schools computer science teacher Jeff Solin designed a PETG shield as well and it’s been tested and revised a few times by local doctors:
        https://sites.google.com/cps.edu/ltmakers/solin-flatpack-face-shield

        It’s so cool to see these designs develop. I’m printing a modified version of the 3DVerkstan visor that prints stacked with minimal artifacts:
        https://www.youmagine.com/designs/3dverkstan-visor-stacking-remix-n-a-6-hole-variant

        The distribution part can be tricky. My spouse is a doctor on the front lines and while the hospital seems well-equipped, at risk places like homeless shelters and nursing homes really need this stuff and seem to be happily using a mix of designs: she’s seen various Prusa models, 3DVerkstan, and Covid Supply Connection. Also DIY foam tape and transparency. She hasn’t spotted laser cut PETG ones yet, but again, different hospitals and systems have different needs and are getting their PPE from wherever they can.

  3. The Prusa example is great; others not so much. I’ve been disappointed (but I guess not surprised) to find that many of the coordination efforts I’ve encountered in the US appear to be motivated more by marketing instead of really solving a need.

    I tried to get involved early and at a scale that would matter. I have multiple 3D printers, a large 100W laser cutter, and plenty of filament. I submitted my information to several Google Forms from companies and organizations that were claiming to connect makers with medical users. In each case, I volunteered to buy an additional 20 3D printers with expedited delivery and set up production. I reached out directly to several doctors I know personally and asked if they perceived the need to be real and whether contributions by individuals and small groups would be helpful or unrealistic.

    Two of the doctors I reached out to took time to respond. One thought it was an interesting idea but didn’t see any immediate need. The other, in the Seattle area, did think there might be a need and pointed me at UW’s coordination efforts. UW said they’d check to see if there was any value in 3D printed supplies, but then never got back to me.

    One company did send out a mass email and requested each recipient to make and send 3D printed face shields. They’re a well-known retailer in the 3D printing space based in So. Cal., but unfortunately, they appear more concerned with getting their name tagged in social media. They offer no information about how many hospitals they’re helping, where the supplies might be going, or any visibility for the maker about the results of their contributions. They don’t even ask for the contributor’s name or contact information along with the shipped items, so there’s no actual way for them to track or credit the participants.

    The complete lack of transparency is not the way to work with volunteers. (For all I know, they’re just putting everything sent to them in the landfill and collecting names of people to sell parts and filament to.)

    It’s very frustrating, wanting to help but feeling like being one of a zillion people contributing parts of varying quality is just so much noise.

    1. I had similar experiences trying to get involved. Specifically with Helpful Engineering which is, as far as I can tell, a huge disorganized mess of a Slack channel claiming 14K members (of which, I guess, I am unwillingly one, because I signed in). Around a week after signing up and trying to figure out what they were up to, and after a mess of startup-related spam (“please join my fabrication platform kthxbai”), I was contacted by someone claiming to be a rep (no way to verify) who wanted “an engineer with CAD experience, access to a laser cutter and materials”, which describes me. I repeatedly asked for information about what they wanted me to do (since I was already working on face shields), but they never shared, and kept asking for more info about me, my shop, my location and capabilities without answering the question, so I let it drop. Trust is mutual and earned. Their press releases are beautiful and I wish them well and hope they deliver.

      There will be two tells- who delivers on their promises – and how many of these efforts carry on once the press are bored with COVID.

      In the end, I have healthcare workers in the family who requested specific items for themselves and their teams and specific changes on items for their work. Ended up making face shields and “ear savers” for a few different institutions. I don’t need to post on Instagram about it. I know I helped, and I can see lots of good people helping.

  4. We are printing the 3D Verkstan face shields because they’re only one piece plus the clear film. It’s very light and comfortable according to our “customers”. The Prusa design has that elastic part which is getting hard to find in stores right now, at least in our area. Distribution is handled via a Facebook group for the most part, and I assure you that nothing is going unused right now. My poor Ender 3 has been running nearly nonstop for 4 days now. The real problem for me is the cycle time, I’ve got a 0.4mm nozzle which means it takes 1h30m for a pair of headbands. Time to apply for funds for a Volcano extruder, I suppose.

    https://3dverkstan.se/protective-visor/

  5. The doctor I work with said the other doctors and medical staff didn’t want the Prusa or Stratasys designs because they weren’t closed on the top to stop droplets from that direction. That is why I have been printing the NIH DtM-v3 design. I can only produce five per day, but it is five face shields that will be used.

  6. I have been thinking quite hard about how to past the procurement problem and get things into the hands of anyone else who wants them via official channels.
    A big part of the problem is the lack of QA and associated CE marking. Nothing about what is being done couldn’t be done by a “real” company.
    The plan below has been run it past procurement and some other industry insiders and it could be used to manufacture other health parts.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exemptions-from-devices-regulations-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

    Register a company / CIC to the MHRA this company will follow ISO14485 for its procedures.
    As part of this

    Create manufacturing SOPs and embed them into an app that allows a maker to register themselves, confirm that they are following a standard procedure including:
    cleaning the print bed, using an unmodified approved design, approved print settings, record their fillement type, that they have used gloves etc.
    Post production checks including changes to SOP’s as needed etc.
    The sops can all be controlled and delivered via OSS tools / apps etc .
    A maker is then given a contract to manufacture according to the SOP.
    The group can then mark the devices with the correct category and the devices can enter “normal” distribution channels.

    1. The project I’m working for has some ability to fast-track QA and CE requirements here in France, due to some gov support. https://covid3d.org/ . Has a lot of projects running under it, I’m working on a syringe pusher project on there, but there are a lot of others, and they are looking for volunteers.

  7. At coh@abit, the fablab of the institute of technology of the university of Bordeaux (France) where I work, we have been contact to produce 3D printed face shield for the local university hospital. So we started to collaborate with an engineering school (ensam). We draw several models inspired by the prusa one, after tests, one of them has been approved by the hospital. The 3D printed model was design to accelerate the printing (1 hour). Individuals owners in the area started to print face shields. A local company proposed his services to deliver face shields to the hospital. It was fine but not enough. So we started a more massive production using laser cutters of the fablab and a plastic injection machine. Now we produce around 500 pieces by day and deliver the production to the university hospitals and others. We have feedbacks of from the medicals and modify that to do improve our production. a picture of our first delivery https://projets.cohabit.fr/redmine/attachments/1961/IMG_5278.JPG. When I’ll find time I’ll try to write the details of this adventure. (Sorry for my bad English).

    1. Hey.

      I know a lot of Fablab managers around France, and as far as I know right now *every* Fablab ( or close to ) is doing this, as well as every 3D printer operator community ( often linked to the local Fablab or equivalent ).

      I believe that’s also mostly true in the UK, and in lots of other places around the world.

      It’s really impressive and inspiring how much reaction/help there has been. My parents are nurses, and I found people near them ( via a Fablab also ) who were able to print PPE / face shields for them in a matter of days after they expressed the need.

      Fablabs and 3D printer operators are really kicking ass right now.

      Cheers.

  8. The real lesson should be for the Governments and should come in from of regulations. Decentralized Manufacturing in non regulated environments is dangerous, period.

    Hospitals are desperate getting PPEs that are produced in environments that even the operators may have CoVid already. CoVid that many reside between layers of a poor sterilized 3D printed objects for days and that will en up in the head of nurses providing a fake protection sensation.

    Some approved industries and community makers are getting approved for production and these can do it properly. The broad maker community (including your high schooler) could help with the greatest intention and complicate things for all once this is over.

    Most developed countries layed down normatives to get certified as class 1 PPEs quick if you are industry, now nurses and front line professionals are bypassing laws that may end up prosecuted later.

    1. At least here in France, this is 100% something the current initiative is handling. They sort the produced masks by the plastic that was used to create it, the ones that can be are autoclaved/steamed, the others are sterilized in other ways, and they are not re-used without adequate processing.

      We’re talking about medical professionals here, they didn’t have to wait for you to worry about it to become paranoid about germs, it’s sort of been the culture of the profession for like a century and more …

  9. 3D printers are a great tool for making small runs of things. I printed a couple of the face shield frames on my one and decided that the time it tool to make one was far too long. given the simplistic nature of the design I then moved to my mini CNC machine and using 6mm plastic was able to churn out frames at about 1 minute each.

    I then tested the same program on a larger commercial CNC machine and dropped that to 23 seconds for one frame and could have probably speed this up a little by instead using a vibra knife instead of the router.

    One sheet of material would easily fit 200 frames and that was without nesting them as well as I could have done.

    but saying that I really do like the way the 3D print community banded together and came up with a solution.

  10. The article did a good job of documenting the positives of the maker movement and the democratizing of technology tools:

    -the ability to respond quickly
    -and fabricate and deliver locally.

    There is a dark side though and we and other makers saw it play out in real time:

    -everyone was working in silos with little coordination
    -information was pushed out quickly with little time to review
    -when flaws in designs were identified the information was slow to get distributed
    -when it was disseminated, groups choose to ignore the new information

    Case in point are the face shield designs including the original Prusa design.

    A staff member at the University of California Los Angeles in collaboration with a number of hospitals identified a flaw of all the original designs and some makers tried to get other makers to slow down as to not use up all the local materials and met with resistance. The designs have a gap between the face and the top of the face that allowed spray from a sneeze to get behind the face shield. Medical staff if not careful can then touch their face assuming they are using certified shields and transfer the virus to other surfaces.

    https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.library.ucla.edu%2Fplugins%2Fservlet%2Fmobile%3FcontentId%3D215259556%23content%2Fview%2F215259556&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNH9MJGk6sDMcbcrJdIcyXDGv1JCpg

    I saw that play out in real time on @packratt1 Twitters account. I do not know him but view his feed from time to time. I saw him get real push back for asking people to slow down while the design flaw were addressed. The flaw was addressed 3 days latter and that design became a National Institutes of Health Certified design.

    https://3dprint.nih.gov/discover/3dpx-013359

    We saw the same thing locally when we tried to bring the new design to the attention of a group working with the Open Source Medical Supplies initiative and a number of local hospitals. They were stuck rigidly to their first design was had the flaw.

    In Canada this is now moot as a new directive has comes out by Health Canada late last week restricting the manufacturer of medical supplies including Persona Protective Equipment to licensed manufacturers.

    https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/medical-devices/covid-19-unconventional-manufacturing-personal-protective-equipment.html

    A few Canadian 3D printing companies have become licensed medical manufacturers like Tinkerine.

    https://www.thenewswire.com/press-releases?id=1AqRFl21V

    So for Canadian maker please note the the covidstop.ca initiative mentioned above is affected by the Health Canada directive and that the design on their website has the flaw point out by the UCLA work. I hope they will be updating their website soon.

    The maker movement can do great things but thoughtful application of all the great energy is required.

    Make sure you have the most current information before you act and make sure what you do is relevant
    and will have actual impact.

  11. Those claiming laser cutters and cnc machines are superior for this job due to rate of output are missing the fact that said rate is per machine and that there are many more 3d printers available.

    1. Think you still need a CNC/laser cutter to cut the shield itself. Most 3D printer filament isn’t very transparent. A CNC/Laser only design probably takes barely longer to cut, and will be simpler to assemble and sterilise (one material).

      1. They just use transparent sheets that are easily available from like, accounting, binders, sorting and stuff like that. Plenty of sheets that do the job in the offices around the medical staff.

        1. Did the word plenty get redefined while I wasn’t looking? They’ll burn through office stock in a day or two, local office stores might last a week, after that it’s all precarious promises, like their regular supply.

          1. I’ve been in the 3D printed face mask supply adventure for several weeks now, and as far as I know, there’s zero concern about running out of the transparent sheets. I’m helping with several locations across large distances in France. Might be different in different countries I guess, maybe the French like those sheets abnormally much in normal times and have overstocked ?!

  12. Well, although a face shield looks like a totally trivial item it turns out it is not that easy to do well and efficient. I was not happy with many of the available solutions so I tried to come up with my own. It took me over a week fiddling and waiting for new material to arrive so I now I got something that looks kinda usable. But it is still far from where I was aiming for originally.

    Goal was a mask that can be laser cut easily, that is closed at the top and wraps around the face far enough to protect at least the top half of the face from the side, too.

    No idea if the PET we got is just old or of poor quality or it is just a material that’s difficult to work with. After playing with a lot of fancy solutions I am back at a simple solution with two slits to run the head strap through and a hole to fix it with. Since yesterday I have some sheets of 0.8mm PP which make for an OK head strap – something the PET just – would – not – do.

    Still need to write everything down in a proper project description. Here are a few pictures of my journey https://sagensang.nimmerland.space/index.php/s/LQtQziogjZJspoC and the repo with is still missing the v3 mask: https://github.com/b4ckspace/faceshield

    1. Hi Florian, I like your thoughts and designs, very interesting to look at the pictures – thanks for posting. If you are interested, I posted a design here: https://www.instructables.com/id/A4-Face-Shield-for-COVID-19/

      I like what you are doing with the top being closed in slightly and I think you might appreciate taking a look at this design; https://www.instructables.com/id/KiwiShield-Single-Material-PPE-Faceshield/ , might be some ideas there for your back of head strap (not sure about your split pin?) Also, the MIT design makes a lot of sense – and I having the folded inwards pieces at the bottom would also help prevent any upward splashes during an intubation procedure.

      Maybe you can come up with a hybrid of your design (which looks very usable and not too bulky) crossed with the other two which are both clever designs , being easy mass produce and easy to sanitise for reuse.

  13. Once I donate these mask, I will put a tag on it that says something like, ‘Printed on xx/xx/xx, please do not open bag before 3 days of print date. Will this suffice?

    1. Oh common how are you bringing Musk into this. If you don’t like the guy at least don’t start bringing him up and giving him free attention when this has nothing to do with him.

  14. Any makers with a 3d printer in Ireland could get involved in face shield making. This has been OK-ed by the Republic’s governmental agency for hospitals etc (the Health Services Executive) and is being coordinated by Benchspace in Cork but seems to be evolving into an all-island thing with rapid iterations (gone through 3 designs based on feedback from users in the past week Prusa->Verkstan->N3DPS). (I am not affiliated with benchspace but am printing parts for this initiative) https://benchspacecork.ie/3d-printed-faceshield-for-irish-healthcare-workers/

  15. We are going for the fomit angle.

    We are producing antiviral Resins for 3DP, starting from oil (if possible, used). This is similar to Mammen, M., et al. (1998). “Polyvalent interactions in biological systems: Implications for design and use of multivalent ligands and inhibitors.” Angewandte Chemie-International Edition 37(20): 2755-2794.

    The idea is to make the virus release its RNA by mimicking how it enters the cell. This is already documented to work for similar Influenza. We are just trying to make it really cheap, and rapidly deployable in countries like mine.

    Ideas on how to use this resin, is welcome.

    1. You should do door handle covers, etc. Everything people touch with their bare hands ( especially visitors ) in the hospital, would benefit from something that messes with viruses.

  16. One of the most successful, yet least publicized executions of 3D printed face shields had been done by Toronto East General hospital. They’ve received almost 10000 of a visor they jointly designed, that is simple, easy to print, and very scalable. It’s not meant to be a faithful replica of a regular face shield, but one that’s focused on COVID-19 use cases.

    They crowdsource only the 3d printed frames, and disinfect them on arrival. The hospital sourced their own new, clean 3 hole punched transparent sheets and elastics, and installs them at the hospital. Thus no need to disinfect those. Frames can be disinfected and reused 5-7 times.

    https://www.mghf.ca/your-impact/3d-printers-take-covid-19

    There is too much focus on which face shield design is “better” than the other, while very few people are focusing on what to do with them once they’re in the hospital, their need to be disinfected, and the whole lifecycle of the equipment. Without figuring these elements out, you risk creating a lot of work and disruption to hospitals who can’t afford any of that right now…

  17. I’ve joined in with 5500+ other volunteers to print prusa face shields for the NHS in the UK.
    The response has been fantastic. It’s not over yet so we’re continuing to help out.
    3dcrowd.uk

  18. It’s interesting to read the headline: “The Real Lessons About 3D Printed Face Shields: Effective Engineering Response In Times Of Crisis” and compare it to the comments.

    It looks like we all need to step back and look at a comprehensive set of testable requirements, all driven by the safety of the wearer first.

    It’s clear that every design has to deflect a spray of particles and droplets away from the wearer’s eyes, nose, and mouth. It has to work for the wearers so they aren’t constantly taking it off and on to adjust it, or they may toss it aside and go without protection. It has to be comfortable, because the wearer is going to have this on their head for hours; this means sweat management. It has to stay in place on oily, sweaty heads under vigorous head movement. It has to take into account a wide variety of head sizes and user’s hair. It has to be obvious and intuitive for the wearer to put it on and take it off. It has to provide coverage for droplets that aren’t directly sprayed at the wearer’s face (settling into the wearer’s eyes from above or drawn in from the sides, for example.) It has to not fog up. It has to have a removal protocol that minimizes exposure of the wearer to infection. It has to be durable enough to not break over its expected lifetime after repeated sterilizations. And there are undoubtedly other requirements that aren’t as obvious.

    Shield visor design isn’t something we should experiment with or iterate on from scratch, because we don’t need to. Visor design is a problem that has already been solved. Experimental designs are problematic because hospital staff are not engineers, and are not skilled reviewers of health equipment – they may say “yes, this holds a sheet of plastic and will be fine for us” without understanding they’re not getting a safe or adequate level of protection. Instead, if you can’t adopt a standardized design that’s already been approved, at least learn from the past! Look at existing shields and see how they solve those problems, and make sure your designs solve them too. And drop your egos – it’s not a race for glory to tattoo your design’s name on donated visors. The focus has to be 100% about protecting vulnerable people; people who’ve already been let down by their governments and hospital administrators. We have a responsibility to not provide unproven substitutes.

    In other words, few of these visors emerged as an “effective engineering response”. Only those where the designers got their national health bodies to approve their designs and handling procedures were doing the right things. Everything else that people are doing or suggesting has the potential to put innocent wearers at risk.

    1. Except you’re 1000% missing the fact that most of the designs that have popped up / become popular are based on copying/reverse-engineering existing commercial ( and health body approved ) products, just adapting them for easier 3D printing … Thanks for assuming the 3D printing community is a bunch of idiots.

    2. Also, even if this wasn’t as good as national body approved whatever ( which it isn’t really ), you are completely missing the fact that for most of the printers here, before they started providing face shields to medical personel, they had none, or DIY solutions which were way way worse than the 3D printed ones. That’s the story you’ll hear again and again and again if you start asking the questions. Perfect is the enemy of good enough.

    3. Also, having followed the discussions around this in the first days ( which you can too, it all happened online ), the requirements you list were for the most part *already* in the design specs/requirements right from the start, and after the first day/round ( of which there were many afterwards ) of medical personel feedback, these started being improved over. I dare say I wouldn’t be surprised if at this point many of the 3D printed designs are better than commercial ones, it’s not like what’s on the market is a paragon of design, feedback on the 3D printed ones also usually comes with complaints on the existing, and remarks on how happy they are their remarks are finally taken into account.

  19. I also read the relevant news, but I still think the efficiency of 3D printing mask is too slow, and the cost is still very high. In terms of the current situation, I still think the assembly line production mask is more suitable

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