Company founder Joseph Prusa initially hoped to design and print respirator masks, given the current shortage, but found it untenable (he goes into details on that subject here). But he learned that healthcare workers also have a need for face shields, which can help with infection control, and these are in short supply as well.
We were notified on Facebook that doctors are in great need of face shields and that there is already a great face shield design available online. We took it as a starting point and decided that we would adjust it for easier and faster 3D printing – e.g. there shouldn't be any supports required and we should fit as many of them onto a single print sheet as possible.
Here's what they came up with:
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The clear visor, of course, is not printed; Prusa went with an off-the-shelf 0.5mm sheet of PET-G (one brand name is Covestro's Vivak) and they note that "the holes can be made with a standard office hole puncher."
Prusa is printing and donating 10,000 units to the Czech Ministry of Health, and their next goal is to design 3D-printable protective eyewear for healthcare professionals.
Presenting the prototype to the Czech Minister of Health Adam Vojtech
If you have a 3D printer of your own and would like to print some shields for a hospital or facility near you, the files are here. "It would be great if you donated these shields to those in need for free," Prusa writes.
"If you need to cover your production costs, we are ok with you selling the shields for production cost. However, we do not want to see these shields on eBay for $50."