Here's how you can use your 3D printer to make face shields for hospital workers

Mar 26 2020, 3:08 pm

Take part in the war effort against COVID-19 from your home or your place of work; a Vancouver-based architectural visualization company is turning on their 3D printers to mass produce face shields for healthcare workers.

LNG Studios is seeking help to continue its production of face shields, and it is also providing anyone who owns a 3D printer with necessary know-how to do the same.

Currently, as known cases of the coronavirus soar, there is a significant shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) supplies, and this includes face shields that protect workers from being infected by respiratory droplets from a patient coughing or sneezing.

“We are very low on equipment, everyone at Vancouver General Hospital has to wear a mask and face shield. These face shields are needed more than ever because they can be reused,” said Leonel Leyson, a registered nurse for intensive care unit patients at Vancouver General Hospital, in a statement.

Currently, the company’s five 3D printing machines have the capacity to print up to 60 units of face shields per day, but this is certainly far from enough given the soaring demand.

During Monday’s provincial health press conference, officials also noted they are now using medical supplies far more quickly than anticipated. There is now an urgency to source frontline workers with the necessary equipment they need in advance of the expected surge in hospitalized patients.

The type of face shield being printed by LNG Studios is based on a verified open source design available from PRUSA. They have partnered with five Metro Vancouver hospitals — Richmond Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, St. Pauls Hospital, Lions Gate Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital — who have all already tested the prototypes and are now waiting for these supplies.

These face shields consist of a reusable visor with extra face shields, effectively extending the lifespan of a single visor by simply replacing the face shields.

Plastic materials for the equipment have already been sourced from local suppliers, which are supplying and laser cutting acrylic sheets to specifications.

face shield

Leonel Leyson, RN at Vancouver General Hospital for the CSICU, wearing a face shield. (LNG Studios)

“This is a time where coming together with innovative ideas matters most. In this case, time is of the essence and we are arming our local frontline health workers with face shields that will protect them in the line of duty,” said Leon Ng, CEO and founder of LNG Studios.

“We’re calling on all 3D printers, innovators and creators to join us in this effort and help close the gap on the need for PPE across BC.”

For LNG Studios’ production, Ng says they have secured funding from local developer Gryphon Developments to produce the first batch of 100 face shields, with two extra replacement clear acrylic sheets per face shield.

Each batch costs $2,000, and they are looking for additional monetary support, with donations accepted through the GoFundMe crowdfunding platform.

Anyone who would like to receive the design file and printing instructions for the face shield, as well as connections with the network of local hospitals, should email [email protected].