April 29, 2020
Twikit employee and 3D hobbyist, Zorko, is helping local healthcare workers with his simple but effective face shield. At the beginning of the pandemic, he designed and developed a 3D printed face mask and is gifting them to local healthcare providers.
What is 3D printing doing in the battle against COVID-19?
There is an enormous shortage of personal protective equipment due to the Corona virus. People and companies everywhere are trying their best to contribute to support healthcare workers as much as possible. Gowns are being made by big brands such as Ford, people are sewing mouth masks and many more PPE products are being produced in a record pace. The 3D printing community is coming together to its weight. A lot of brilliant ideas are put together by hobbyists and discussed in multiple online fora.
Twikit employee Zorko is one of these hobbyists providing a solution. A lot of face shield designs are circulating on the internet. He got inspired by designs in the Prusa community, where he found good and well worked out designs. The downsides of these designs were the complexity and the fact that the shield needed to be perforated.
In only a week time, Zorko designed, developed and printed a viable face shield. After his work, he could start working on the design and perform fitting tests. He brought the design back to the very minimum that is realizable with 3D printing: the frame and the transparent A4 sheet. The frame is ultralight and fits different head sizes. Zorko executed several tests on his wife and kids to optimize the design.
The reason behind the face shield
Zorko looked for a way to use his 3D printers at home in the fight against Corona. The approach of this project was to use cheap and accessible materials. The sheets and printing material can easily be purchased on different online stores. Producing one face shield costs Zorko €0,40. Next to the fact that it is a very cheap solution, the shield can be disinfected and reused. Meaning that the face shield is a cheap, sustainable and reusable solution.
Specifications of the face shield
The framework is 4.5 mm high. This is the minimum height required to retain grip on the plastic A4 sheet. A cut in the design is made to fit the A4 sheet. The used sheets are completely transparent and have a thickness of 200 micron. Zorko contacted a Brussels based company that was already delivering face shields to hospitals in Brussels. Their shields have a thickness of 180 micron and less. So, to be 100% sure that the shield protects and does not tear, Zorko uses 200-micron sheets.
The face shields put to the test
Zorko jumped on his bike and brought a box with face shields to the local hospital, AZ Monica. The feedback coming from AZ Monica in Antwerp was very positive. The doctors confirmed that the face shield fits really well around the face and the sheet maintains its form at the bottom. This is not the case with all the face shields circulating right now. The shields are being disinfected by the hospital itself in a designated room using hot steam.
A second gift was made to the deputy mayor of economics and welfare in Vilvoorde. He will use the face shields in a care centre for the elderly, where the personnel can use them as an extra layer of protection. This way they can work in a safer way without risking contamination by drops when a patient coughs or sneezes.
There are no limitations to the application of this product. The face shields can be used as a layer of protection for teachers, store clerks,
How can you print face shields yourself?
Are you inspired and willing to help healthcare workers, teachers, etc. in your area? Only a few things are needed to get started. Any FDM 3D printer can handle the printing of the frame. It is printed with PLA to ensure the needed flexibility and firmness. The sheets can be ordered online and delivered to your doorstep. 100 sheets can be bought for a couple euros. A print takes about 1h45. With his 2 printers, Zorko has a printing capacity of 25 to 30 face shields per day. A pictured tutorial (link: fightcorona.twikit.com) is also available for the assembling of the face shield. This only takes seconds.
Go download the files and make a difference in your neighbourhood.