Retro tech is great, and while it may be just what’s needed to fight boredom, it’s understandably worthless at fighting a virus.
As COVID-19 continues to impact nearly every facet of our lives, figuring out what we can do to help has always been at the top of our minds. First we raided our supply room, and after taking what we needed to keep our team safe, donated the rest of our stock of gloves, masks and goggles to our local hospital where we know it would be put to immediate use. But even as we were leaving the donation center, there was the thought: what’s next?
Lucky for us we have a team of proactive people who were already off and running on their own ideas. Between spot-on CAD drawings and sourcing production materials, our design engineer Lionel also oversees our fleet of 3D printers used in our research and development process. As some of these efforts slowed with workplace restrictions, he immediately recognized the potential. Instead of sitting idle, the whole lot of printers could be reassigned to production of a new item: face shields.
Lionel started with some basic drawings available online and then worked in some of his own key modifications. By reengineering a single piece design into a snap together 3-piece design, he was able to arrange the pieces like a puzzle on the printer bed allowing more parts to be made per run. He worked out the concept and logistics on his own and then brought it to our fleet of printers to begin production on a larger scale.
The printed plastic pieces are assembled with the addition of a foam piece to help fit and provide comfort where it rests on the forehead. An optional rubber band can be added to create a secure fit on those with smaller heads. A 8.5” x 11” sheet of 0.002-0.07” plastic is prepped for assembly using a standard 3-hole punch, so it can be attached to the 3D printed brim.
The total cost of all materials per face shield: $1.30.
Are you a healthcare worker that could benefit from a face shield? We are sending out these masks free of charge while our supplies last. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd love to send you some on our dime!