Innovations That Matter

The laser-cut visor is made of clear plastic and a 3D-printed band that fits across the user’s forehead | Photo source 3dverkstan.se

Architects collaborate to 3D-print protective face shields

Architecture & Design

The project provides open-source design files for 3D-printing the shields, with firms using their own printers and laser cutters

Spotted: As the battle against the COVID-19 coronavirus picks up pace, there has become an urgent need for medical devices, masks and other equipment to help keep front-line medical personnel safe from infection. Now, architects across the US have teamed up to manufacture face shields for hospital workers.

Related: Tracking Innovations Responding to Coronavirus

Coordinated by the Architecture, Art and Planning faculty and Cornell University in New York, the project provides open-source design files for 3D-printing the shields. Architecture firms use their own 3D-printers and laser cutters to make the visors, which are then distributed to hospitals around the country. Many of the firms are basing their visors on files created by Erik Cederberg of Swedish 3D-printing company 3DVerkstan. 

The laser-cut visor is made of clear plastic and a 3D-printed band that fits across the user’s forehead. The only other tool needed is a hole punch, which makes the holes used to clip the shield to the visor. The plastic shield needs to be replaced frequently, but the 3D-printed clip can be sanitised and reused.

A severe shortage of medical equipment has led to a raft of innovations by engineers and others, who have adapted their businesses and techniques to making medical products and devices. Some of the innovations we have seen include the use of captured carbon dioxide to make hand sanitiser and a partnership between Mercedes and University College London to manufacture a new type of breathing aid.

Explore more: Architecture & Design Innovations | Health & Wellbeing Innovations

Email: aapdean@cornell.edu

Website: aap.cornell.edu

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