ANU Ceramics researcher aiding doctors on frontline of Coronavirus

Dr Cherie Castaign (Saratoga Medical, NSW) wearing one of the face shields made by Mr Rod Bamford.
Wednesday 22 April 2020

ANU School of Art & Design researcher Mr Rod Bamford is applying his design expertise to create face shields for doctors on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.

Mr Bamford, a Senior Lecturer in Ceramics, has been using designs developed by members of the global Coronavirus Makers group and printing them using his home 3D printer. He distributed face shields to local doctors and healthcare workers who reported difficulty accessing personal protective equipment. Mr Bamford took on board their feedback about the face shields, adapted them and created revised designs.

"I received feedback from doctors indicating they prefer to fit the acetate to the frame in landscape format as it provides better protection," Mr Bamford says. 

"The other suggestion I received was that the face shield was fogging up in a number of situations, so I have remixed the design by adding vent ports in the lid, and included an angled shield to prevent the entry of airborne spittle."

Mr Bamford’s version of the face shield consists of simple materials – a 3D printed Polylactic Acid (PLA) visor and backstops, elastic bands, and a sheet of A4 overhead projector acetate. 

"For the shield I used 100micron acetate which is the thickest economical grade I can access and it still clips into the frame nicely," he says.

A key concern for health care workers is that the materials used in the face shield need to be regularly and safely cleaned. Responding to this requirement, the PLA & PVC materials used in the 3D printer and the acetate sheets are both able to be cleaned using hospital grade disinfectant products.

One face shield takes only half an hour to print and uses materials that cost less than a $1.50 per unit. The trade-off for this affordability is that some components of the shields have a limited lifespan, however, the careful design of each unit allows for the acetate screen component and the elastic bands to be quickly swapped out and replaced. 

Mr Bamford's design has been made available through the open source website Thingiverse for other people around the world to use, to help meet shortages in supplies of face shields. Mr Bamford will be printing and supplying more of the face shields on demand.


Remixed from the original story on the ANU School of Art & Design website.

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Updated:  5 May 2020/Responsible Officer:  CASS Marketing & Communications/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications