Last week LearnByLayers, a platform to help teachers with 3D printing, launched a call out for teachers and businesses in the Greater Manchester area to support medical workers at this challenging time.
Around the UK we have since seen similar urgent calls for PPE from doctors and nurses, in particular face shields, as they battle the current Covid-19 pandemic.
LearnByLayers founder Phil Cotton reached out to Dr.Paul Jackson, from the Boundary House Medical Centre, to discuss the open-source design from Prusa and started to manufacture face shields for their surgery. He used a variant of the Prusa concept and is 3D printing them from PETg filament and laser cutting the see-through shield from Acetate plastic.
They discussed that whilst the concept has not been medically approved (worth noting it has not undergone any medical testing), it was agreed that it does provide a barrier and the opinion was that it is better than having nothing at all.
So far, hundreds of masks have been printed in the Greater Manchester area already and the local community spirit is providing vital support during this crisis.
The idea is simple. With many 3D printers and laser cutters sitting idle in schools and businesses, they requested that teachers or companies who have the correct equipment can help to support with 3D printing and laser cutting face shields.
Below are the guidelines for how to manufacture the facemasks that have been used in Greater Manchester.
Guidance for teachers/businesses: You will need to have the hardware to make the face shield e.g. 3D printers, a laser cutter or plastic laminator and an elastic 1-inch band for the strap. Also, Petg filament for the 3D printed parts. PLA is not recommended. Also, make a prototype first before committing to ensure you can fully make the design.
The process is relatively quick and the files are below. This was printed on a Creality Ender 3 using Petg 1.75mm filament using a 0.8mm MK8 nozzle. I have used a larger nozzle to speed up the print time. The main file for the headband can be printed in under an hour, with the bottom smaller file being printed in under 30 minutes. After printing, it needs a little filing down with a needle file to clean any excess filament.
Extruder temp – 220
Heated bed temp – 80
Speed – 60mm/s
Nozzle size – 0.8mm
Layer height 0.4mm
Infill Denisty – 25%
No support is needed.
Equipment and Materials
- Petg filament – Petg has more flex than PLA and is also used for waterproof parts. These files below are optimized for Petg printing.
- Acetate sheet – This design for the shield is laser cut, but you can do it with a plastic laminate A4 sheet and hole puncher. (I haven’t trialed the laminate way but many others have succeeded.)
- 1 inch elastic strips
Some tips to help with making.
Cut a small hole in the elastic to push over the ‘hooks’ of the headband. When removing from the print bed, use a needle file to smooth off any excess filament. Wear gloves and wipe down with anti-bacterial. The face shield is a tight push onto the 3D printed headband.
Download files below
Click the butting below to download the files. In the zip file there is the STL files, DXF files for the transparent shield and the dtd files if using 2D design. The headband was taken from this design here and the DXF file was edited from here, These are shared under the creative commons license.
The National 3D Printing Society is coordinating a national effort to scale the production and distribution of this equipment to members of the NHS as quickly and efficiently as possible. They are currently seeking anybody with a 3D Printer to aid in manufacturing and anybody with a vehicle who would be willing to help with deliveries.
To find out how you can help please visit https://national3dprintingsociety.co.uk/medical-am-covid-19/
NHS workers who need supplies of 3D printed shields or components can also request those via a form on the website.