Light Duty Face Shields

Presenting the version 2 design for the protective face-shield used by healthcare workers here at hospitals in Toronto, where protective gear has become dangerously hard to come by due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the previous design, the TTL Makers worked from an open-source model provided by Prussa, and it was excellent in all ways but one - production time.

To keep up with growing demand, we needed a design optimized for speed. And we got a very good start by looking at a design provided by a Swedish design firm, 3D Verkstan.

Original Design Link

Nice features:

  • Flexible tolerances work well of a wider variety of printers
  • Less material cost
  • Lower print times equal greater production

TTL Makerspace 3D Print instructor Kyle took the original design and went further, creating a “stacking” system that allows up to 10 visors to be printed at once, then easily snapped apart.

Stacking

Now we’re really talking about production - the kind of speed that will be needed to stay ahead of the virus and give our care-workers the protection they need.

Production Comparison

The original Prussa design - 11 hours for 8 units Modified Verkstan design - 5 hours, 45 mins for 10 units

48% improvement in production speed

Original material usage: 50 grams PETG New design material usage: 17 grams PETG

66% reduction of material

Original design units per roll: 20 New design units per roll: 60

66% reduction in cost

Design for the Situation

In addition to designing for speed of production, the V2 design is optimized based on feedback gathered by the team communicating with hospitals. From this, two major considerations were derived.

1. Drip-catching Visor

A major difference with the V2 design is the drip-catcher. That’s the solid tray that runs along the length of the shield and is intended to make contact with the brow of the wearer.

This feature is important, and missing from the original design. This is a critical consideration currently, because hospitals have had to expand intubation procedures into environments that are not as tightly controlled for airborn isolation (such as a revers-isolation negative pressure room).

Drip Catcher

2. Disposability

With the number of procedures vastly increased, many hospitals regulate against re-use of protective gear between patients. The new design is lighter, uses less material, is more compact, and easier to dispose of. With the production gains mentioned above, the new design ends up being the winner in terms of being well-matched to the need.

Something to Think About

While the process got started early-on for the TTL Makers, production was guided by information gathered directly from qualified health-care workers. As a result, the design that emmerged is unlike what would have been produced had we proceeded on our own.

This is a powerful testimony to the importance of communication, of planning, and skillful iteration. There’s a time to just dive in and build - but this wasn’t such a time. It’s been nice to see Makers rise to the occasion, work collaboratively, and contribute significantly to the fight against COVID-19.

But that’s not all. Be sure to check our next project, another request from local hospitals - the intubation box.

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