TechLab uses 3D printing to make face shields for Emory Healthcare

When shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) started affecting our healthcare facilities, we at TechLab started looking for ways to help out. After evaluating the various designs people around the world have been promoting and checking with Emory Healthcare doctors about their needs, we decided to make face shields.

We went through several iterations of prototypes as we figured out what we could make quickly that would also meet the needs of our healthcare partners. After a few trials, we settled on the design created by Budmen Industries, a 3D printing company in New York, that was then adapted by the Columbia University Libraries Studio.

3D printing the frames is the slowest part of making the face shields–each frame takes 1 hour 20 minutes to print. To speed up our production, we started by printing the frames on all six of our 3D printers simultaneously. To source the other needed materials, we reached out to our campus partners. We received elastic straps from Theater Emory’s costume shop, which itself has been working on sewing cloth face masks, and we sourced plastic for the visor of the face shields from the Emory Libraries Conservation Lab.

We delivered a first batch of 7 face shields last week to the Emory University Hospital Midtown’s Anesthesia Team. While they started using them immediately, we received a few requests to adjust the design to better fit their needs. Our latest batch of 37, which were delivered on Thursday, April 9, incorporated these changes.

Safety is a number one priority in TechLab. In order to protect our healthcare workers who will be using the face shields, we sanitized all surfaces before using them, as well as wearing cloth face masks and washing our hands immediately before manipulating any parts.

In the immediate future we are seeking reliable sources for the materials needed to assemble the shields. We hope to be able to continue their production to help meet the needs of our healthcare facilities for as long as possible.

You can see a video showing how we are making the masks below!

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