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A Guide To Printing Face Shields – battling COVID-19 one 3D print at a time

A guide to printing Face Shields – battling COVID-19 one 3D Print at a time. This guide shall run through the process we are using to print faceshields/masks to help with battling COVID-19/ Coronavirus. Will self-isolation stop you from using …

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Tom Watkins

March 26, 2020

A guide to printing Face Shields – battling COVID-19 one 3D Print at a time. This guide shall run through the process we are using to print faceshields/masks to help with battling COVID-19/ Coronavirus.

Will self-isolation stop you from using a desktop 3D printer? Absolutely not! The 3D printers you can see in the aforementioned link are easy to setup and run print jobs, so everyone can do their bit to battle the Coronavirus.

face shield

A Step by Step process to create the Face Shield

These specific face shields are being created in collaboration with https://www.sgd3d.co.uk in order to get vital PPE to medical professionals across the U.K.

We are using the Prusa designed shield, which can be downloaded and constructed from inside the link below https://manual.prusa3d.com/Guide/How+to+assemble+the+Prusa+Face+Shield+-+RC1-RC2/1527

3D printers

1- Prepare the file for 3D printing

First step is to prepare the file, if you would like to download preset up G-codes for printing the face shields for the following printers, please contact us.

The Ultimaker S5 can fit three face masks printing at once, however the others can manage one at a time.

Ultimaker S5 printing covid19 face shield in cura

2- 3D Print it

We are printing with PLA, due to it being easy to obtain, print with, and is acceptable for use as a single-use face shield. Other materials such as Copper3D’s PLActive, or PETG could allow for easier cleaning and repeated use. Although we are manufacturing single use parts, the filament being used can include Filamentive RPLA (Recyled PLA).

Once these files are on the printer, each part will take around 4 hours to print.

23 minutes left on a covid19 face shield

3- Carefully remove

When removing these prints from the machines, you have to run under the precaution that you have Coronavirus. Safety is the main concern with this process plan and therefore should be strictly adhered to.

You will need to wear the following items

  • Facemask
  • Prusa Face Shield
  • Gloves (I have been using anti-bacterial spray onto the gloves before use to ensure full cleanliness)

Store the parts immediately in a sealable bag.

Talk with whoever you’re making the face shields for, let them know about your manufacturing environment. This guide to printing Face Shields and battling COVID-19 one 3D Print at a time will only work if proper precautions are taken.

There is still debate about how long the virus survives on plastic, but most sources mention 2-3 days. That means that by letting the packed face shields sit for 2-3 days before distributing them, you’ll greatly reduce risk of transmission.

Do not store the entire stock in one place, minimise the risk of cross contamination

Further to this, we recommend writing on the sealable bags the exact date and time that the parts were sealed. This will avoid confusion and ensure that the parts are as safe as possible

bags of time stamped covid19 face shields

4- Create the other parts of the Face Shield

Creating the clear plastic shields can be done via a few different methods, depending on what tools you have. As most people will not have access to a CNC router, or laser cutter we have created another option. The link below will allow you to download a cutting template. You can use this template to cut down PETG 240x240mm sheets to the correct size.

https://grabcad.com/library/covid19-prusa-faceshield-cutting-template-1

For the Rubber band you can either use a thicker one and make a hole in it at each end (make at least 10 mm cut) or use a thin one and tie it to both ends of the shield.

cutting template for covid19 face shield

5- Construct the Face Shield

I am once again sharing the link below from Prusa, as this runs through the steps to build the COVID-19 Face Shields https://manual.prusa3d.com/Guide/How+to+assemble+the+Prusa+Face+Shield+-+RC1-RC2/1527

The basics to remember with the face shield are

  • This Face shield is a single use component
  • Wash your hands and your surroundings first, before you start to assemble the face shield.
  • Use gloves during the assembly.
  • Disinfect the shield before use – you can use this article
finished prints and cutting template covid19 face shield

Final note

There is no better time to own a 3D Printer, being able to continue to manufacture while the country is on lockdown is vital, and a desktop 3D printer is a viable solution.

This guide to printing face masks, hopefully helps you to understand how anyone can assist in battling Coronavirus – one 3D Print at a time.

During these tough times we would love to help your business find ways to save money. To speak to a 3D Printing expert, call us on 01926 333 777 or check out our contact us section

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