Medical Face Shield

Introduction: Medical Face Shield

About: Design and Technology Teacher, Secondary Level.

With the global pandemic of Covid19 virus, supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical/care staff are running very low or are non-existent in certain locations.

This Instructable shows a way to very simply manufacture a shield to help protect the front of your face from someone coughing or sneezing towards you when caring for them.

(Please note: It does not currently have any 'approvals' from regulatory bodies, so it should be considered a basic resource that is for use only when approved supplies are unavailable; i.e. it is certainly better than nothing.)

The method of manufacture is very simple, with strips of plastic in varying widths/lengths, effectively just riveted together.

The materials are all readily available, and often found already stocked in school/college/university workshops.

The only significant workshop equipment is:

  • a bandsaw to speed up cutting and (or a Laser Cutter - please see Updated Design step)
  • a strip heater to fold over both ends of the main headband strip.

There are simpler workarounds to both of these; craft knife/steel rule for cutting plastic and the edge of a household iron for bending/folding might work ok.

Supplies:

These are the materials that we have used:

  • Visor: ‘Food Grade’ Clear PVC 0.5mm
  • Headband: High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) - strips cut from a 1mm thick, 457mm x 254mm regular sheet (sold to fit a school vacuum former)
    Note: Polypropylene is also suitable and more durable - please see Updated Design step.
  • Forehead Cushion Strip: Plastazote (soft foam) & 20-25mm Double-Sided Tape
  • Tensioner: Regular Rubber Band, approx. 80mm unstretched
  • Fasteners: Brass Plated (Steel) Textile Hole Reinforcers/”Rivets”

Updated Materials:

  • Headband - Polypropylene 0.8mm Sheet 1100mm x 650mm
  • Fasteners - Presco Swatch Fasteners 0-3mm

Our main supplier (UK based) of most materials for this product is:

Tilgear Limited: - https://www.tilgear.info/index.php?route=informat...

Also:

Presco - sales@presco.eu

Seawhite of Brighton - info@seawhite.co.uk

Step 1: Updated Design Points...

During the four weeks (so far) of mass-manufacturing these face shields, we have learnt from our own mistakes and from user feedback, that certain aspects of the design needed some improvements:

- the line bend in the HIPS could be weak and break if it wasn't quite hot enough when shaped.

- the HIPS could also fracture (very occasionally) where the rivet/eyelet goes through.

- some of the rivets/eyelets occasionally pulled through the plastic layers and thus the components came apart.

- the supply of metal eyelets became problematic (in the current situation).

So we decided to:

- switch from HIPS to Polypropylene for the headband. Polypropylene is very much more durable and also just as comfortable against the forehead. This enables us to use our laser cutter. We can get 44 headbands out of a 1100mm x 650mm sheet of polypropylene; DXF file attached.

- opt for a non-bent end design with instead a set of graded attachment slots for the rubber band to attach to.

- remove the extra small front section of headband and just attach the clear visor directly to the headband, still with the 'push out' to leave room for users' nose and glasses/face mask etc.

- change to using plastic two part fasteners (instead of metal rivets/eyelets) which grip really strongly; we have not yet managed to get one set apart! A simple wooden jig enables the fasteners to be assembled without bruising your thumbs.

The rest of the instructions below are the original ones and are still fine to follow, just factoring in the points above as/if you see fit. Good luck and please keep us updated with your feedback and suggestions. Thanks.

Step 2: Cutting the Clear PVC for the Visor

The trimmer works well for cutting the clear PVC. A craft knife and safety rule also works fine.

(Trimmer might need sharpening sooner rather than later after this though!)

Cut it off at 240mm in width. As it comes on the roll, this is the direction of the natural built-in curvature; handy!

We had already cut our roll in half on the bandsaw (for existing vacuum forming projects) so it was approx. 270mm which seems fine. This will be the depth of the visor from forehead to chin.

We suggest you round off the two corners that will be at the bottom of the Visor, as they will otherwise be very sharp.

Step 3: Cutting the HIPS for the Headband

The HIPS headband strip is cut at approx. 35mm width, down the long side of a regular sheet . We buy it this size to exactly fit our school vacuum former; CR Clarke machine. In the UK, Tilgear Ltd supply this size in school packs.

Sand off the ‘swarf’ from the cut edges with some fine abrasive paper.

Step 4: Bending Over the Ends

Place the headband on the strip heater with about 20mm (min) over the element. Heat steadily on both sides until flexible enough to fold over.

If you don't have access to a strip heater, the edge of a regular domestic clothes iron also works. Place a piece of oven proof silicon/baking paper between the iron and the plastic to avoid it melting onto the iron. Something heatproof underneath as well. In the picture we have used a plumber's soldering heat mat.

Please Note: we found this to be trickiest task of the whole process; getting the temperature just right, so it bends neatly and retains strength/spring.

An alternative fixing for the rubber band is to only fold over one end on the strip heater and in the other punch a hole instead. The rubber band can then be looped through itself and will be less likely to fall off and get lost when the shield is not actually in use.

Step 5: Assembling the Main Components

Textile ‘rivets’ (also called 'eyelets') work well for fixing the visor to the headband. If you don’t have any/enough of these then small cable ties will probably work fine; however you won't be able to lift the visor up at all.

The holes in the main headband strip of HIPS need to be punched at 185mm apart (hole centre to hole centre), equally distanced from the centre of the strip.

The three sets of punched holes in the shorter HIPS strip need to be made: central and then approx 10-15mm in from both edges.

STEP 1 - The Clear PVC visor is attached to the short strip of HIPS with just the central rivet first. Do not put all three in at this stage (yes, we have done it and had to pull them out again with pliers!)

STEP 2 - The Visor is then aligned with the main Headband, one end-hole to another and the rivet goes through all three layers (2 HIPS and 1 PVC). Ensure your rivets are long enough. This is where the use of small cable ties either instead or for additional security could be helpful.

Please note: the way the end-bends on the headband face; upwards. (Yes, we got it wrong more than once!)

STEP 3 - Now the Visor needs to be 'flexed' so that the other end sets of holes can be aligned and the rivet punched through all three layers again. This is a bit tricky and sometimes feels like you need a third hand. You could clamp it while you assemble the rivet and get the rivet punch in place.

Step 6: Adding the Foam Headband Cushion

The strip of foam can be as short as 150mm, or longer.

Apply the double-sided tape onto one side. We suggest leaving approx. 10mm gap at each end. This will help users to get hold of the foam and pull it off for replacement in due course.

Stick it centrally onto the inner headband strip of HIPS.

Please Note: We decided to supply the masks without pre-fixing the foam. We reckoned that the medical staff will need to give the whole product a thorough clean upon receipt from a non-hygienic workshop environment. So they can easily apply the foam strips themselves once cleaned and dried.

We also supplied the rubber bands separately, for later self-assembly.

Step 7: Bulk Production Timescales & Feedback

In terms of timescale, it took 4 of us about 8 hours to make 120. (only 48 of them in the picture).

If you develop some really efficient manufacturing and/or assembly methods we would love to hear about them please.

Initial feedback from local Primary Care staff has been very positive, but there are undoubtedly points that could be improved, based on a longer period of usage.

Good luck with your own manufacturing and any improvements you come up with. Our email addresses are just below and we would love to hear from you and receive any pictures of your products and your making processes please.

Stay Safe! (and you'll be helping others too as well)

JStephens@birchwoodhigh.org.uk

RNewman@birchwoodhigh.org.uk

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    22 Comments

    0
    CarolMiers
    CarolMiers

    11 months ago

    Hello, if I can't get 0.5 sheet for the visor is 0.4 adequate? I will be cutting it with hand tools at the moment, no laser cutter - thanks

    0
    CarolMiers
    CarolMiers

    Reply 9 months ago

    We've given away 260 visors and given that there are no villages here in France with 1000 people in them, it is very rural, that is not so bad! There seems to be a very different attitude amongst those in the medical world to the general public who have no concern or awareness as things stand even though that is recommended. Still we've run out of the 0,45 polypropylene clear and have only now 0,2 binder sheets left, but we're modifying the visor at the moment - hopefully it will still be useful - to be 'lighter' altogether - less long but wider as this is an A3 sheet cut in two.

    IMG_0905.JPG
    0
    rogernewman10
    rogernewman10

    Reply 9 months ago

    Hi Carol, lovely to hear from you again about your progress and the situation where you are located. Interesting how the local responses vary. We have moved (over a series of design stages) to a polypropylene headband and a styrolux visor. We have also added a peak that fits over the gap between the visor and headband. This was requested by one of the local hospitals and it makes complete sense of course. I will attach some latest photos...shortly, when I have worked out how to get access to them from my OneDrive.
    Do please keep us posted and great work.

    0
    CarolMiers
    CarolMiers

    Reply 9 months ago

    Hello we have used the material from the first order - Ivevordered a 3D printer but maybe a laser cutter would prove more useful - we’ve started raising funds and getting somewhere towards being able to order other material - are you going to make screens ? If so - any ideas ? We’re stepping cautiously out of lockdown and schools could be back soon - some infants already - some teachers have been told they can’t wear visors ? Maybe screens ? Not sure how things are moving over with you Thank you

    0
    rogernewman10
    rogernewman10

    Reply 9 months ago

    Hi Carol.
    Room Screens - yes we have been fabricating screens for our school canteen, to go around the tills, to protect the staff there from the hundreds of students who will walk past them. I will try to add a photo here (wish me luck). We have used a 40x40mm timber frame and 3mm clear acrylic.
    Primary Schools - yes, they have started requesting shields, mainly for their staff who give first aid and personal care.
    in terms of Secondary schools like us, it’s not yet clear what the classroom arrangements will be; watching brief.
    Regards
    Roger

    0
    CarolMiers
    CarolMiers

    Reply 9 months ago

    A frame - does that mean you are machining along the edges then? thanks for the update

    0
    rogernewman10
    rogernewman10

    Reply 11 months ago

    Hi Carol. Yes that should be fine. Just makes it even more important to round the two bottom corners of the visor as the thinner the material the sharper it feels. Sorry if that didn't need saying.
    Great work and looking forward to seeing some pics if possible please? In due course, no hurry.
    Regards
    Roger

    0
    CarolMiers
    CarolMiers

    Reply 10 months ago

    Hi - the material arrived on Tue 14th pm with Covid-19 Urgent on the packet - it had taken eight days from another part of France but with Easter in between - I'm making them by hand at the moment - might get some more tools - a laser cutter would be nice - I phoned the local old people's home today, the director or equivalent asked me for my address to send a letter of thanks - she was so so so appreciative, she's taking the first 15 - there's no illness here - fingers crossed - so she doesn't need more at the moment. This is the Dordogne Thanks and I'll try to update you.

    visiere craig.jpgIMG_0666.JPG
    0
    rogernewman10
    rogernewman10

    Reply 10 months ago

    Hi Carol.
    Thanks for this further update and it's great to see your product pictures here. We are finding there is still very strong demand for the face shields here in the South East of England. We have made and distributed nearly 5000 shields so far.
    Along this journey we have made a few changes/improvements to the design and materials. The most significant being a switch to Polyproylene (we can laser cut it) for the headband. Also using plastic Presco Swatch fasteners instead of metal eyelets. However, I do feel that the original design is still do fine and we know that many local medical staff are very happy still using them.

    0
    CarolMiers
    CarolMiers

    Reply 10 months ago

    Hi, it's quite hard to source anything here, Amazon France is not functioning in that the delivery dates are a good month away. The local hardware store says that it can't order anything. So at the moment we are using tiewraps/cable ties. We've made 100 now.

    0
    rogernewman10
    rogernewman10

    Reply 10 months ago

    That's a great amount, particularly given the extreme constraints you are working under. Have you also found medics who need them?

    0
    CarolMiers
    CarolMiers

    Reply 10 months ago

    Hello, yes so far a few - 15 for the old people's home and 7 for the medical centre - in fact there's no illness here so it's hard to know whether or not to keep 50 for the old people's home - if the virus arrives the Director said herself that they are likely to need more - so I will try to keep 50 on one side - otherwise it could be about going further afield - your experience is helpful too - I saw the other day that visors were going to a funeral parlour - I hadn't thought of that one !

    0
    rogernewman10
    rogernewman10

    Reply 10 months ago

    We have sent some to a local prison, also to local fire and police officers who are all 'frontli e' but not always prioritised that way. Other health professionals like chiropodists, who still need to visit older/disabled at their homes would probably not normally own a shield, unlike say dentists who I think wear them anyway.
    Do you have a local Facebook group on which you could enquire who needs them maybe?
    If I think of any more groups of people we have supplied, I will let you know. Meanwhile keep up the great work Carol.

    0
    CarolMiers
    CarolMiers

    Reply 10 months ago

    Yes I have a local Facebook group and that is growing - I've had far more demand and now delivered more than 200 - today was the largest delivery of 110 to an organisation that send people into homes for the sick and elderly - a kind of carer - we are giving some to the hospital taxi/ambulance service, then also a teacher. We now know that some schools are opening up after May 11th and some teachers are very nervous. I am making enquiries about obtaining more material as we will soon run out ! We will see. Today an old people's home said they couldn't take them as they are not 'registered' I am not sure if that will become more common or will be a one off. Anyway we are still making at the moment!

    0
    rogernewman10
    rogernewman10

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thank you very much Penolopy.

    0
    Henri.Lacoste
    Henri.Lacoste

    11 months ago

    Such a useful and easy to follow instructable, nice one!

    0
    rogernewman10
    rogernewman10

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thank you very much Henri.

    0
    G R W
    G R W

    11 months ago

    Such a good instructable. Clear and detailed. What a great solution. Thanks

    0
    rogernewman10
    rogernewman10

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thank you very much GWR.