Legal disclaimer – Referenced face shields within this article are not FDA or NIOSH approved N95 replacement.
Please see updated FDA Guidance HERE.
During these unprecedented times as the world tries to recover from the Pandemic, we are inspired by the innovation and creativity we are seeing every day. As School Fab Lab we have been working with Schools in New York bringing digital design and fabrication machines into lab settings. Going one step further we have provided curriculum, workshops and projects for teachers to integrate digital project-based learning into their classrooms. We want to share a very special story from one of our Schools and the Face Shield project they undertook to help their hospitals.
Fontbonne Hall Academy a college preparatory school for young women in Brooklyn, NY using their School Fab Lab Full Spectrum Laser, is making face shields for healthcare workers in their community. They have made over 1000 shields and donated them to 13 local hospitals. Michal Ashkenazy, Science Chairperson at Fontbonne says they average 100 shields per day.
Their biggest challenge was acquiring the raw materials. When they were unable to purchase the required plastic and elastic, they improvised with school supplies. Using report covers, sheet protectors and large rubber bands, they waited for feedback from the medical professionals. Their face shield design was approved and production began.
To make the shields they used open-source DXF (Drawing eXchange Format) files provided by New York University (NYU).
These files were made by an Auto CAD (Computer Assisted Drafting) software which is used to create 2D and 3D prototypes. Tania Rivera, Science Teacher at Fontbonne resized and adapted the files to best suit the types of materials being used, making it more effective in terms of the size of the plastic report covers and the size of the laser-cutter itself.
Sample Supplies used:
One of the tricks they learned through trial and error was that using Murphy Oil worked the best for cleaning the shields once they were removed from the laser cutter.
Feedback received from the hospitals found their shields to be more friendly on the face then the traditional rigid headbands and plastic shields.
If you have access to a laser-cutter, making these face shields is very easy thanks to the Open Source files provided by NYU.
Michal Ashkenazy also wanted to give a very special shout out to Tania Rivera who resized and adapted the open source files from NYU. Also she would like to thank two of Fontbonne’s alumni – Andrea Provvido and Priscilla Badalamenti – who volunteered daily with all facets of production, as well faculty members – Neli Brussi, Ralph Somma, June Detetsky, Effie Maldari and Gloria Musto and all those involved with this project. A special thanks to our Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric, without whom none of this would have been possible and most importantly a huge shoutout to our first responders who have been working so selflessly throughout this crisis. We appreciate and thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!