Introduction: How to Make a Liftable 3D Printed Face Shield

When COVID-19 hit Singapore in Mar 2020, "Circuit Breaker" kicks in, schools were closed and learning moved online, we knew that this is the time that we need to do exactly what we have been educating our students on "Hands-on, Minds-on, Hearts-on". We had been teaching CAD and 3D printing in ITE and this is the time to put the skills to good use and play our part to support the nation's effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Living up to the school’s motto: "Skills that care, Connecting Lives", the team of staff and students work together with industry sponsors to produce face shields for the front-liners at the nursing homes. Within a week, a box of face shield was given to a nursing home and subsequently, more are being produced and donated. The design of the face shield continues to improve for more comfort and protection, as we received feedback from users, more research discovery has been announced. The latest design allows users to have ear to ear and forehead to chin coverage.

We are putting this design online so that anyone with a 3D printer can print out a face shield for personal use or even donate to someone who needs it.

Let's work together to ride through this pandemic stronger. Together we can make a difference.

Step 1: Our Design Journey : Research & Design Improvement

Our face shield design inspirations came from proven solution that was tested and used in actual medical field. The dimension of the face shield is critical for comfort and efficiency.

Below are some of our favorites:

1) Prusa face shield (Click here for link)

The print file for the face shield can be downloaded from the website and very detailed instructions given on on how to assemble the face shield and how to sanitize the face shield. Highly recommended to read.

2) National Institutes of Health 3D Print Exchange (Click here for link)

This website provides information on FDA authorized production of protective face shields outside of the normal clearance pathway during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on Part 5, section D of the “Enforcement Policy for Face Masks and Respirators During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff." It provides information on the recommended face shield dimension.

3) Green Ellipsis face shield (Click here for link)

Green Ellipsis face shield design comes with a sloping extension that covers the forehead. It is able to block droplets that might be coming from the top, which is great as droplets might be coming from any direction. It takes longer time to print but then again better coverage.

Design improvement

With reference to the current design available, we have redesigned the face shield using the Autodesk fusion 360 CAD software. Our initial design consists of 2 parts, the headband and a lock plate. This design is easy to print and able to secure the plastic shield tightly. (Refer to design rev 1)

After successfully printing design rev 1, we need to increase the printing quantity and it is necessary to optimize the design so that we can use the minimum amount of material without compromising the quality. This is done using Autodesk fusion 360 Generative Design which will propose the best optimized design for the face shield. (Refer to design rev 1.1)

The face shield design is then further improve to provide ear to ear coverage. In addition, in consideration that the user will need to wear the face shield for very long hours, the design is further enhanced to enable the user to lift up the shield for a quick sip of water or food without removing the whole face shield.

Step 2: Final Design - Liftable Face Shield (Headband, Lock Plate & Shield Plate)

The 3D printed design consist of 3 parts, the headband, lock plate and shield plate to hold the plastic shield in place and it can be lifted up without removing the face shield. This allows the user to wipe away his sweat or take a quick slip of water. This design ensure better coverage.

Download our ITE CC SOE face shield design which consist of:
1) Headband 2) Inner Lock Plate 3) Outer shield plate

Tools needed:

1) 3D printer

2) PLA filament

3) Elastic band length (Width : 25mm) - Length 500mm

4) Plastic Shield (Thickness : 0.2mm)– Length 265mm x Breadth 250mm

5) Foam Tape (Thickness : 3mm) – Length 227mm

6) Sandpaper – Grade 280 or 350

7) Scissors

8) Hole puncher

Recommended print settings:

Material: PLA or ABS

· Layer Height: 0.15mm

· Fill Density: 100%

· Infill Pattern: Triangles

· Line width: 0.4mm

· Wall thickness: 1

· Top Solid Layers: 4

· Print Speed: 70mm/s

· Temperature Extruder: 210 degree Celsius

· Temperature Platform: 0 degree Celsius

· Support overhang angle - 50

Step 3: Cutting of the Plastic Shield

It is recommended to use plastic shield of thickness 0.2mm as this provide the needed rigidness. The overall size of the plastic shield is 265mm x 250mm which we cut out from the standard A3 size plastic.

A piece of paper is used as a template and drawn according to the dimensions needed. A hole puncher was then used to punch the holes at the same interval as the template.

The bottom of the face shield is rounded to a radius of 50mm. A 3D printed template with radius 50mm is used to guide the cutting of the face shield.

Step 4: Assemble the Faceshield

  1. Place the plastic shield onto the outer shield plate by matching the holes to the knobs
  2. Secure the inner lock plate onto the knobs of the outer shield plate. Push down the inner lock plate to lock it firmly into place
  3. Snap on the headband to the outer shield plate
  4. Adjust the elastic band to the appropriate size to fit the head size of the user

Step 5: Our Never Ending Design Journey

We are still looking for ways to improve the face shield, we had even added a "bill" to the face shield to provide some shade to those who are working under the sun.(How to add a 'bill for the faceshield video link: )

We hope that you find our design useful. Stay safe and stay protected!