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Making During COVID-19

This is a guide to projects at HSU and in the community for creating practical as well as fun projects.

3D Printing

A few departments at HSU have FFF 3D printing capabilities. Since March, several staff and faculty across various departments are coordinating to make the most of our printers and supplies to produce face shields for use by health care professionals. Those departments and individuals with capable 3D printers have made parts for hundreds of face shields that are being assembled and distributed to Student Health Services and other areas.

How it comes together

The Process

Printing

The face shield is made of several parts. The headband and lower shield support are made with 3D printers. We have also been printing straps to connect the elastic (rubber bands have been working well) to so that the it fits more comfortably. The shield itself is a 3-hole punch transparency sheet.

We are using printers of different sizes, some of which are too small to fit the upper headband. Therefore different parts are printed on different printers and then they all come together when they are assembled. You can see the different colors of printer filament that has been used by the various printers below. Some of the face shields end up with mismatching uppers and lowers because they are printed on different printers.

Row of stacks of finished masks in various colors.

Materials

The headbands are printed using PLA and PETG filament. Both are fairly clean plastics to work with and can be in contact with skin for long periods of time. PETG is similar to the plastic used in water bottles and other food containers and is a bit more flexible than PLA.

Some face shields that others are producing use elastic to fit the headband to the person's head, but we are using rubber bands and 3D printed clasps that fit on the back of the head.

Photos of face shield headbands being printed.

Assembly

The 3D printed pieces come out of the printer with at least a little bit of clean up work needed. Stringing may occur, which looks like thin hairs coming off the piece and can be cleaned up with an razor blade or knife. Some prints may also end up with blobs, areas where extra filament is laid down, creating small bumps or even larger chunks of plastic where it isn't wanted. These can sometimes be cleaned up with a knife but may also require sanding.

Photo collage showing various stages of mask assembly and clean up.

Then the pieces need to be put together. The photo above shows a shield with the top and bottom 3D printed pieces, the transparency shied and the rubber band.

Comfort Straps

We have also been producing comfort straps to help make the elastic more comfortable and functional. These can also be used with cloth face masks to help alleviate strain on the ears. We've used a couple of versions:

photos of two ear saver pieces and designs

The blue design is Surgical Mask Tension Release Band for Ear Comfort & Extended Use, by davis becker, CC0. These are thin enough to be flexible and comfortable while still being strong and offer multiple attachment points for different head and mask sizes.

The orange and green design is Simple Stackable Ear Savers v3, by The Shielding Effect, CC BY 4.0 (and has been remixed to include the HSU Spirit logo). This design is very simple, offers two different attachment points, and prints quite quickly (stack of 4 in roughly 30 minutes).

What We've Learned

Headbands

  • Materials
    • PETG is a a better material choice for many reasons, including flexibility and ability to be cleaned, but it requires higher temperatures compared to PLA, which seems to print more evenly and with fewer errors.
  • Designs
    • The original Prusa design is very nice and has many features that make it comfortable and sturdy. There are also many remixes with slight improvements to offer other features, such as alternate attachment options. However, the Prusa and associated designs take a considerable amount of time to print. Even when optimizing the print by maximizing speed, layer height, and other settings, the shortest print time we could create was just under two hours. And with these settings, we experienced more issues with print quality.
    • The UCSF design is a good compromise of the qualities of the Prusa design and faster print time. This is partially due to a decrease in material (largely from the shorter height). We remixed the UCSF design, combining two of their designs: the Av1.0 design which is even faster and uses less material and the Av1.2 plain design with hooks for the elastic attachment points. The other tweaks we made were to shorten the length of the arms that extend over the ears and to add an HSU Spirit logo stamp. You can view and download an example of one of our remixes on Tinkercad.

Bottom supports

The bottom supports are difficult to install with the thin transparency sheets we are using. The sheets tend to crack when they are inserted. We also found that the bottom support is not necessary with our design because the transparency sheet is oriented in landscape and is therefore shorter and doesn't require the added support.

Who We Are

Who We Are

Angela Ventuleth

Equipment Systems Specialist 2
Telecommunications and Network Services

Angela assembles the face shields, cleaning up the 3D printed pieces and then connecting the rubber bands and transparency paper to create the finished product.

Bernard Fosnaugh

Stack Maintenance and Student Supervisor
University Library & Makerspace

Bernard used the Library's Lulzbot Mini 2 printer to print some initial prototypes, the bottom support structures, and help supply others with various filaments.

David Baston

Core Research Facility, Research Associate
Biology, College of Natural Resources and Sciences

David runs the Core Research Facility on the second floor of Science B, Room 230. He's been printing the UCSF 12 stack headbands for face shields using a Stratasys UPrint SE Plus 3D printer powered by the GrabCad program.

The 3d printer is available to print objects up to 200 mm wide by 200 mm deep by 150 mm tall for a materials charge by the square centimeter.

The Core Research Facility is a shared resource for students and faculty where they can use instrumentation and equipment as well as perform hands-on research in a safe and supervised environment.

Eamon Landon

Network Analyst
Telecom and Network Services

Eamon has been printing mask straps for face shields with a Monoprice Maker Select IIIP.

Joseph Log

Network Analyst
Telecom and Network Services

Josh Callahan

Information Security Officer and CTO
Information Technology Services

Josh has been printing a mix of visors and mask hooks at hoe as well as trying to keep supplies and completed visors around campus. Josh has a Monoprice Mini and just got an Ender 5 to help with this as well.

Marisol Cortes-Rincon, Ph.D.

Department of Anthropology, Associate Professor
Geospatial Archaeology Research Center, Director

Marisol runs the Geospatial Archaeology Research Center (GARC) in BSS 137. She's been printing the UCSF 4 stack headbands for face shields using an Ultimaker S5. The laboratory provides unique learning and directed-research opportunities for HSU students, as well as educational outreach programs within the local community.

Tim Miller

Digital Media & Learning Librarian
University Library & Makerspace

Tim prints out the headbands at his home office, which is his garage with an Ender 3 printer. Tim is also laser cutting similar face shields following the Proto shield model as part of a community group.