As of 20th May 2020, there have been close to 5 million cases of the COVID-19 infection worldwide. Mumbai witnessed a sharp increase in the number of confirmed cases (currently at 25,000) from the first week of May. All industries are suffering from the effects of a lockdown, but hospitals and essential services are the worst hit. The workers here are in close proximity to others who may be carriers of the disease. They face severe risks, and so they require protective equipment that is effective and can be provided in large numbers at low costs, as quickly as possible. Personal protective equipment also referred to as PPE, is worn to minimize exposure to the infection. It includes a vast range of products including face shields, gloves, goggles, gowns, head covers, masks, respirators, and shoe covers. The COVID-19 infection often spreads through a cough or sneeze, where the particles land on closeby surfaces. So, face shields are an essential component of PPE for protecting an individual's eyes, nose and mouth; the parts which are most vulnerable to pick up the infection.
Using CAD and 3D Printing, these face shields have been designed and iterated quickly to be comfortable, durable and effective in use. Several 3D printing enthusiasts, start-ups and even large companies are utilizing their 3D printing capabilities to build and provide face shields to cover the increasing shortages in protective equipment for essential services. It is important to focus on the quality of this product, because it is worn for long periods of time and it should be safe to use around COVID-19 carriers. Like many manufacturers we have made our designs open-source so that others can help in the united fight against COVID-19, by continually improving the design and quality of PPE.
At Curiosity Gym we developed a face shield that fits different users comfortably, and uses minimal material and time to create, so as to reach more people in need. The face shields are made using PLA, a bio-based plastic material made from plants instead of oil and derived from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugar cane.
The design does not require an elastic band to be fastened around the user’s head, thereby avoiding fatigue due to long hours of use. It utilizes PLA’s material property to stretch and conform, making it comfortable to wear for a long duration. At the front of the 3D printed frame, there is a transparent sheet that can be detached and reattached to the frame by snapping it at 4 points. This makes it easy to assemble, and allows sanitisation before use, a key safety measure missing in most other designs. This feature also makes it easy to transport and store parts in large numbers.
We are currently providing these face shields to front line staff at KEM hospital, on an ongoing basis, in Mumbai and have received positive feedback in terms of utility and comfort. Our design files and instructions for making these face shields are open to the public, so feel free to use and modify them as you like. Click here to view the files and instructions.
Stay home and stay safe! :)