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Covid-19 Laser cut face shield

Although I am a huge missionary for 3D printing, I also strongly believe that it should only be used if it is the best tool for the job. The COVID-19 crisis has created a large number of 3D printed personal protective equipment (PPE) designed for 3D printing. This is absolutely fantastic and of huge value particularly if you are just making one for yourself, or a few! However, for some applications, particularly if the volume of the parts are relatively large and large quantities are needed, then laser cutting may be a substantially faster, and therefore more cost-effective method of manufacturing such PPE equipment.

So we decided to create a face shield designed specifically for laser cutting, rather than 3D printing. The team included Olaf Diegel, from the University of Auckland, Mike Carrigan, from ITS NZ Ltd, Andrew Lee from Fisher & Paykel healthcare, and Tim Carr from Mindkits.

In this case we did a few unusual things, like split the frame into two pieces, so that many more could be nested on a single sheet of material than if it were cut as a whole piece. A set can be cut in just under 3 minutes. This means it is possible to cut around 40 full sets in about 2 hours on a 1200mm x 900mm 80W laser cutter.

We also added in a flexible laser cut band to rest against the forehead for added comfort. This also acts as a flat surface against which a piece of window 'draft seal' foam rubber(available from your local hardware store), for example 6mm thick x 19mm wide, can be used for even greater comfort.

And an elastic band gets attached to the back of the frame to keep the shield secure on your head.

This is designed to be laser cut out of 3mm MDF (a sometimes surprisingly rugged material), and the face shield can be laser cut in 0.75mm PET or other similar material suitable for laser cutting. The shield can also be hand cut, and the holes in it are designed to be punched with a standard 2-hole paper hole punch. The whole thing is assembled wihtout the need for glue or other bonding.

All the prototypes were laser cut and tested by Mike Carrigan of ITS NZ Ltd on Thunder Laser machines.

If you come up with any further improvements, please email them to us at olaf.diegel@auckland.ac.nz and we'll update the downloadable files on the site.

Protoype of version 6




Above is a CAD model of the version 7 design, and below is a video clip of Mike Carrigan testing prototype number 4 for its ability to stay attached to the head.

DXF and Adobe Illustrator files of the inidvidual components for laser cutting can be downloaded HERE

And Adobe Illustrator files to cut 36 x frames in a single job out of a 1200 x 800mm sheet and 16 x face shields in 0.75mm PET in a single operation are available HERE.

Layout for cutting 40 sets of frames in a single operation

copyright 2019, olaf diegel