Face shields provide protection of the face and protection of critical PPE (e.g. masks) from contamination, extending the life of critical PPE. Based on the information shared with us, there is an immediate need on the order of 100,000 units within 1 to 2 weeks in Atlanta area alone, potentially up to 1 million units. Faculty members in Mechanical Engineering (ME), Biomedical Engineering (BME), and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) have rapidly developed and prototyped several unique and simple designs, based on direct input and feedback from healthcare workers and hospital supply chain managers. Their solution, recently featured in the New York Times, is simultaneously a scalable one, as well as one that anyone can produce from their home using widely available materials.
Focusing on designs which are easy to manufacture and easy to assemble, they have settled on two main options: one is a 2D rigid reusable shield and another called origami-style disposable shield. The rigid reusable shield can be made in mass production by laser cutting, waterjet cutting and injection molding. It can be done at a lower rate with 3-D printing or a handheld dremel-type tool. The replacement film for the shield can be mass produced by laser jet cutting and die cutting. It can be produced at home by cutting the rough geometry from any available rigid film, such as office transparencies, and creating the tab features for mounting to the frame using a standard 3-hole punch set at standard width. The origami-style shield must be produced by laser cutting and/or die cutting.
The team leveraged multiple rapid prototyping/manufacturing capabilities at Georgia Tech, including the Flowers Invention Studio and the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), to iterate and finalize the design directly with clinicians from Emory Hospital and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. These facilities also are supporting rapid evaluation of material and other specification deviation requests by suppliers. Georgia Tech has provided daily production capability of up to 2,000 rigid frames per day for the rigid reusable shield, up to 3,000 rigid frame shields per day, and up to 3,000 origami-style disposable shields per day. Recently, the shield frame design has been deployed to processing using injection molding. This type of production methodology is a truly scalable solution that is capable of 150,000 frames per week in its current configuration, and is scalable up to 250,000 frames per day with multi-cavity, multi-facility molding.
The designs are open-sourced below and the plans made available for download so that community maker spaces and other organizations with capacity to fabricate and manufacture them can increase the scalability of the solution and/or help address the need locally in their regions.
Face Shield Frame (SLDPRT)
Face Shield Frame (DXF)
Face Shield Frame (PDF)
Face Shield Frame (STL)
For the Face Shield Frame the polycarbonate (or analogous material) frame is 3/16″ thick. It is acceptable to go down to 1/8″, but 1/4″ is not ideal.
Face Shield (SLDPRT)
For the Face Shield the PET (or analogous material) film should be 0.004 to 0.010″ thick
Georgia Tech is collecting data to calibrate demand, inform future designs, and better understand the necessary logistics for the distributed production and distribution of face shields. We are interested in hearing from both people and organizations in need of face shields, and people and organizations who can help produce them.
NOTE: We will work with the Georgia Department of Public Health to make sure that the face shields are distributed to areas across the state with the greatest need.
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