Have a 3D Printer? You Can Use It to Make Face Shields for Medical Workers

University of California Irvine medical students Tim McMullen and Ermin Dzihic assemble 3D-printed face shields. Photo: Tim McMullen/UCI School of Medicine

Excerpts published by the thewirecutter.com, April, 3, 2020

Hospitals, universities, and other centers of research are looking into ways to produce face shields at a massive scale. A team at MIT, for example, has developed a die-cutting process that can produce thousands of face shields an hour on a single machine. The Massachusetts General Brigham Center for COVID Innovation is investigating die cutting and 3D printing, according to co-director Gary Tearney. Jesse Colin Jackson, an assistant professor at University of California Irvine who is making face shields for UCI Health, is also using laser cutters.

If you already have a 3D printer at home and want to print face shields, the first thing you should do is find and join a local effort (try searching for news articles or visiting Prusa Research’s database of volunteer teams) that knows which hospitals are accepting face shields. Operating through an organization reduces the strain on hospitals, which might find it easier to accept a box of 5,000 face shields instead of a few here and there.

“The hardest step for us wasn’t the making,” Jackson said. “That’s a missing link in this effort, is that community organizer. But as I look around I’m seeing more and more of that person emerging.”