Project Shield - protection against COVID-19 for front line staff

Not related to Farmbot but given a lot of you have 3D printers and lazer cutters I thought I would share what we have set up in New Zealand over the weekend. If you did the same it may be able to help your communities.

Overseas the supply of face shields for medical staff fighting COVID-19 is running out, especially in Europe. This has contributed to many nurses and doctors contracting COVID-19 from patients.

One of the best things we can do, to keep all of us save is help keep our front line health professionals safe.

Project Shield New Zealand aims to provide a robust, safe and readily available solution to this problem. We are a charity collective of 3D printer and laser cutter owners, universities and businesses who can quickly and easily make protective face shields based on a proven design.

Within a two-week time frame we can be dispatching 200 units per week and we can step this volume up if required. Our raw costs for materials and shipping is $5 per face shield. Our members give their time, etc for free.

We have established a production and distribution strategy. Face Shield kits will sterilised, dated and tracked before being sent to the front line.

We have the capacity and capability to produce other items that lend themselves to production by 3D printing, such as emergency replacement parts for medical equipment.

We have a Facebook group but it’s only for New Zealanders. Here is the design of the face shield if you are interested


Well, that’s great to hear about it. I’ve gone through the article you mentioned the idea and design seems perfect. Here in Canada, I’ve ordered a bunch of safety face shields for my workshop, yet still, I’m looking for more designs just like you’ve provided.

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Don’t to forget the certification!

I personally work as medical device service engineer in a hospital in Switzerland. Certification is key for everything related to medical devices being it electrical, non electrical, multi or single use.
Get in contact with the hospitals or medical facilities/institutions first and ask them first before being overly enthusiastic. Clarify with them what you can provide and if they are in need for specifically that.


It may help to tell you how it all went.

We started a non for profit to do this early on when NZ only had 1 to 10 cases. Our DHB (gov health board) didn’t have face shields or the ones they had were out of date. We also did it as stories and pictures were coming out of the USA and Italy that health workers were being told to wear bandanas and ski goggles to protect themselves or being given nothing at all.

Our aim was to develop an early supply chain and be eventually, hopefully put out of a job once the DHB and private business orders from China were flown in and other factories and mass producing facilities at Universities we were working with came on line. This is because even though we crowd sourced 400 3D printers and a smaller number of lazer cutters we could only produce about 10k shields per week. When we initially asked the DHB what they needed, it was hundreds of thousands. So it was clear we were never going to be the long term solution.

But NZ had a problem, the long term solution would take 1-2 months to arrive. In the mean time health workers were back to bandanas and ski goggles, they were very angry with the government.

So we were a stop gap. In a week we set up a supply and distribution network for NZ. We all worked crazy hard to do that. We were in discussions with the DHB about certification etc but in reality no one really cared as the problem was bigger than that. Our founder ran a few local newspaper articles to let everyone know we existed, that was gold.

Our founder sent out some shields and asked for feedback from frontline staff and modified our designs to meet those new requirements and so we could print more faster.

Some 3D printer store owners joined our committee and gave our members discounts on filament and plastic sheet. Actually many businesses in NZ donated money and materials to our group. We paid makers back for filament and postage cost but a lot donated what they had.

I wasn’t involved in the distribution centers these guys had the hard job. We ended up with 3 distribution centers i.e. peoples homes while in lockdown. This was the most critical part of the operation IMO.

All shields were posted or dropped off outside the distribution centers. The goods and makers had to be treated as if they were infected with COVID. So after an a quality inspection straight into a bleach bath or ozone chamber, dried and then placed in a sealed plastic bag and posted.

People at these centers wore gloves and masks. Our biggest concern was someone infecting the goods, infecting us and then us infecting front line workers. This never happened but it’s down to how the distribution centers were run.

We found front line workers preferered to contact us directly rather than going through the DHB. We supplied surgeons, covid response units, midwives, police etc etc.

We started getting lots of photos of folks wearing the shields at testing stations and in hospital wards and saw them on the news. That was wonderful.

In about maybe 6 weeks a massive shipment, 5 planes of PPE landed in NZ, paid for by a group of NZ businesspeople, the factories came online and we scaled back production and eventually stopped. Job done. 8 weeks or so after that NZ became COVID free.