Throughout this isolation period we have seen reports of the lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) to help us defend our community against the COVID 19 pandemic. The government has been regularly updating us, whilst trying to source more from overseas countries like Turkey. It seems, and it is understandable, that the demand is higher than the current supply.

The people have provided the answers.

Across the world people have been designing, manufacturing and sharing new face shields that can be sent to the frontlineThe majority of these face shields have been manufactured through the use of 3D printing. This has become an incredibly versatile tool that begun as a humble machine to produce rough prototypes, to now the main manufacturer of highly complex components in long range space programs and for Formula 1 racing cars. 3D printing has come along a long way since its conception by Charles W. Hull in the mid-1980s . While some manufactures have used stock designs on shared platforms for manufacturing face shields others have simplified, redesigned and improved the face shields to better fit the manufacturing techniques of 3D printers.

In addition, several new face shields have surfaced providing a drastically simplified solution to the ever lessening levels of PPE. These shields not only provide the protection that the government are looking for in their current acquisitions from other countries, but also the rapid production to continually meet the demand. These face shields do away with heavy plastics that involve injection molding or the laborious filament layering of 3D printing. A lot of the shields are made only of a single component that will be stamped, laser cut or similar to provide a flat pack face shield, with potentially other components laminated onto the shield. The shields provide inventive methods to provide the same effect of offsetting the shield from the wearer's face whilst enabling the shield a stable and secure form.

I look forward to seeing one of these flat pack face shields in person and the other potential rapid production ideas that will result from this recent period.