3D Printed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and how can you help fight Coronavirus

3D Printed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and how can you help fight Coronavirus

After much research, I would like to consolidate and summarize everything about 3D printed PPE shields that I’ve been able to find. This effort had been spearheaded by Prusa Research and others so I wanted to get it into one useful article. This is of the highest priority for 3D printing community and is something you can start working on right now.
  1. Introduction
  2. Contacting Hospitals / Medical groups 
  3. Getting started
  4. Non printed parts
  5. Packing, shipping and delivery
  6. Design alternatives
  7. Summary 

INTRODUCTION 

With recent events concerning the COVID-19 outbreak, a lot has happened. A part of that is medical services have been pushed to the limit with staff and supplies. A call for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been requested by hospitals and medical professions. People from all over the globe have stepped up to answer these calls for help, including the maker community. In Italy, a local maker space resupplied valves for ventilators, Josef Prusa from Prusa Research team created a face shield and other similar designs have appeared online. 

The response from the 3D printing community has been amazing and one of our staff has been involved with helping Repkord organization. Repkord Organization has have teamed up with Masks for Docs to help supply the face shields to medical staff. We thought it would be good to share the experiences so that it might help others who want to help 

As we mentioned there are various options for a face shield. We will focus on the face shield designed by Prusa Research as we know this design has been reviewed by multiple  medical sources and has recently been updated based off of recommendations from medical staff. These shields serve as a secondary means of protection for medical staff, to be used in conjunction with eye protection and masks. 
Prusa Shield
There are other designs for a face shield that are already being produced by the community and some of those are awaiting review and approval from the medical fields before they are distributed to those in need. While there are designs for 3D printed masks, we do not recommend these as they have been rejected by numerous medical facilities for not sealing properly and not being sterile.

CONTACTING YOUR LOCAL HOSPITALS / MEDICAL GROUPS

The first step in this project is the most important, and can not be stressed enough.

If you are doing these shields on your own - contact your local or area hospitals to see if there is a need for face shields.
Please do not physically go to the hospital. Call or send an email and start from there. Show a small amount of different options that are available; and try and have an example of a shield already created so if they need to physically see one.

Also make sure to let them know what filament type you have and provide them with the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). FilamentOne provides Material Safety Data Sheet for all materials and you can download them directly from FilamentOne website.
Due to various different state and local regulations, they may or may not be able to use the shields, or may need some alterations to suit their needs. What works for one hospital, might not work for a different hospital. You need the approval of the hospital  / medical group first before you can start creating and donating them. If anything, you need to be in the mind set that you are running a 3D printing service and the hospital or medical group are your customers, what they say goes. 

You can also find others in your area that may have already gotten an  approval from a local hospital and offer your assistance. Masks for Docs (https://masksfordocs.com) is a good resource. There are multiple social media pages being set up daily to help get organized and work as a group to assist, others have been adding their contact details to a google docs form so local people can be matched up to local hospitals.
Repkord Organization is accepting people printing and shipping printed parts to the following address where he has the face shields printed and are distributing them around the California area.

Repkord @ Hackerlab
4415 GRANITE DR STE 200
OFFICE 211
ROCKLIN, CA 95677-2163

Even if you think you are just one person trying to do this. Post what you are doing online, contact friends that have 3D printers, join online groups, and get the word out there about what you are doing. There could be others around you doing the same. Also look up maker spaces near you, contact them to see if they are involved. Get the word out there. DO NOT however violate your regions "lock down" orders to connect with people. 

GETTING STARTED

Prusa Research has well documented the work they have done with their face  shield design. Before you start printing these, it is highly recommended to read the article as it also has instructions that should be followed while creating them. 
Prusa Shield
 It is strongly recommended to use PETG material for the printed parts. PETG is more commonly used in health care and is more chemically resistant than other filaments and can hold to  up more to cleaning / sanitizing chemicals. PLA material can be used as a second method if PETG is not available, If approved by the medical facility. When you pack up the devices, it should be clearly marked which material it is made out of. 

While people want to make these as quickly as possible, it is more important to make them correctly. Follow the designers recommended settings - something as important as this does not need to have short cuts taken. 

These should be printed with 3 perimeters and about 30% infill. 

For a typical printer r, with a 0.4mm nozzle using 0.2mm layer height, on average it will take about 8 - 9 hours to print out 2 sets of parts. 

What you can do, if you have one available, is to switch out your 0.4mm nozzle to a larger one. For the ones we have made, we switched to a 0.6mm nozzle and had the perimeters set to 2 as the wider nozzle will give us the same diameter for the perimeter, and the layer height set to 0.3mm 

This gave us a print time of 4.5 hours for a set of 2 and were able to double production and still keep the quality requirements. 

Once the print is finished, please follow the recommendations for packing the parts, shipping or storage recommended in the Prusa blog post, from Repkord Organization instructions, or if you are supplying them locally, follow your local medical providers requirements. 
 
Remember, FilamentOne team is here to help and feel free to reach out to us anytime via email or social media. 

NON 3D PRINTED PARTS

The actual clear transparent shield could be a difficult part to source. It is a 0.5mm thick PETG sheet that is laser cut. The files are included in the download with proper measurements and spaces for the holes used to attach the shield to the visor part. 

https://www.prusaprinters.org/prints/25857-prusa-protective-face-shield-rc2
Prusa Shield
If you do not have access to a laser cutter, you could try the following:
  • Contact your local medical group if they have access to this (if it is a university hospital, they might have a engineering department or campus maker space that has access to a laser cutter
  • Contact your local maker space
  • Post on social media what you are doing and ask others to spread the word to help locate a laser cutter. 
  • Contact your local plastic supply store

The strap band should be easier to source, but it is also important to follow any medical advice given to see if there is any special requirements or restrictions. Ideally the band should have 10mm cuts so they fit over the connection points on the back of the visor. It should be somewhat flexible enough to allow a secure and comfortable fit. 

Fabric / craft /  art stores should have elastic material that could be used, please check first online or call the store directly to see if they have them. Try and locate them first before heading out to the shops.

Prusa Shield

PACKING, SHIPPING AND DELIVERY

Depending on how you are participating in this, it is very important to follow the recommended steps. If you are doing this on your own, or local group. Follow any and all guidelines from medical professionals as far as packing, storing and delivery of items. 

Prusa Reseach recommends bagging them individually and have them sit for 2-3 days to ensure they are clean of the virus. 

If you are shipping them to Repkord Organization, you do not need to bag them individually, With shipping times, the 2-3 day wait period should be met, and Repkord Organization will have the parts soaked in a chemical bath to ensure they are clean. 

If you are delivering them to a medical building, please make sure to call first to arrange a drop off time, and follow the facilities instructions so the possibilities of exposure are reduced on both sides. 

One suggestion from a member of Masks for Docs was to contact a local fire department close to the hospital to see if that could be used as a drop off point. 

DESIGN ALTERNATIVES

Additional alternative designs that has been approved of use in some hospitals.

The Budmen Face Shield

     While writing this article, another design has been featured in the news and some hospitals are using that as well. It is called the Budman face shield design and the files and instructions can be found here: https://budmen.com/

Alternative source: https://makemasks.net/budmen.html

3DVerkstan Face Shield Model

     The 3DVerkstan was designed by Eric from Sweden. It is a light weight face shield that can use transparent film or sheets used for overhead projectors. Recently Joel Telling (3D printing nerd) did a feature on this design.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHDMdyN5Jjs
Website: https://3dverkstan.se/protective-visor/

SUMMARY

While watching the news or being on social media, it is almost next to impossible to avoid what is going on. The stories from hospitals across the word are heartbreaking, the chance to help is there for those who want to help, but it must be done correctly as a misguided attempt to help, could cause more harm than good. Take your time with this project, and do it right. We can not stress this enough;

The first step is to contact a local hospital or medical facility first to see if they can use the shield if this PPE meets their requirements.

The license of the Prusa face shield does allow for charging money for this. It is limited to recouping costs of creating these devices only. Repkord Organization, Masks for Docs and other small companies are donating 100% of what is received at 0 cost to any medical establishment. At no time should the Prusa face shield be sold to medical facilities or anyone else outside the guidelines from the license. 
 
This is a call for help from the medical community. This is a chance for us to help those who take care of us and save lives. We encourage those who have the capabilities to help to get involved and give back to the extraordinary women and men who lay their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.
 
Remember, FilamentOne team is here to help and feel free to reach out to us anytime via email or social media. 
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