World’s Largest 3D Printing Farm Donates 10,000 Face Shields To Hospitals
With a pandemic rampaging and a worldwide shortage of medical equipments, the world’s largest 3D printing farm just announced that they will mass produce face shields for the healthcare workers working on frontlines and dealing first hand with affected patients. Josef Průša, owner of the PrusaPrinters, on 18th March 2020, posted a blog post on the company’s website where he let the world know of his company’s methodology used to mass print the face shields.
About the Face Shields
The shields are made up of strong and rigid plastic that prevents pathogen entry. They only offer one-time usage and can’t be re-used, even after sterilization.
The 3D printed face shields have three versions, viz., RC1, RC2 and RC3. All versions are suitable for medical practitioners, but vary in their physical attributes and the amount of protection they offer to the wearer.
Why Face Shields?
Josef believes that the 3D printing community is full of great people who truly want to work for everyone’s benefit, but they need to be attentive and mindful of what exactly they are doing if they don’t want negative results booming from their positive acts. He states the reasons why his company being the world’s largest 3D printing facility did not chose to print respirators or other equipment even when they are in a higher and stronger demand and explains them by laying out the following points:
- 3D printers print using rigid products. This results in the reduction of 3D printed respirators’ efficiency in terms of sealing. Even if respirators offering perfect fit against face contours are produced, they won’t be efficient because they’ll come off loose when the wearer talks.
- Making the plastic porous, while also making it breathable will be a daunting but necessary task, because otherwise the mask will become a breeding ground for germs, resulting in more harm than good.
Something, however, needed to be printed, and face shields would’ve been the fastest produced with the most efficiency offered.
From Designing to Mass Production at the World’s Largest 3D Printing Facility
Taking about the process he discussed how no suitable design was available on the internet, and the team had to start from scratch, as they developed dozens of prototypes. The process went from the designing and printing of the headband followed by fitting of plastic gear shields against the bands. The whole process took a total of three days, and then the team presented two prototypes to the Czech Minister of Health, Adam Vojtech.
Prusa is, now, producing around 800 Face Shields a day, and is only limited by their laser cutters’ speed. The company, also, has donated around 10,000 face shields to their Health Ministry as the country fights COVID-19, and following the guidelines provided by PrusaPrinters multiple 3D printers have started printing face shields themselves, proving that Prusa’s designs and ideas matter with more than the 500+ 3D printers that make them the world’s largest 3D printing facility.
PrusaPrinters is now moving to develop and print eye goggles, which will also be targeted for those fighting the coronavirus from the frontlines.
Read PrusaPrinters’ whole blog post here.
Images: © Prusa Printers Blog
h/t: New Atlas