London large-format 3D printing company Ai Build open-sourced a unique face shield design – which it names Face Shield X – in an attempt to tackle the global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) with advanced additive manufacturing technology [download link in comments below]. Due to slow response in the early phases of the pandemic, the UK is currently the European nation that is hardest hit by Coronavirus, as the situation improves in Italy and Spain.
The design of the personal protective equipment is optimized by AiSync software to be produced in under 60 seconds with any compatible 3D printer. A stack of 1200 pieces can be mass-manufactured per day per machine without human supervision which is around 100 times faster than a typical design produced by desktop 3D printing software.
“A positive side effect of emergencies is streamlined innovation. We are extremely excited by the tremendous wave of manufacturers from all around the world turning into additive manufacturing as a response to the COVID-19 emergency”, said Daghan Cam, CEO of Ai Build. “For the first time in history, thousands of 3D printers all around the world are producing millions of products that are in shortage simultaneously. As a technology company, we are doing our part by pushing the boundaries of what is possible with this magical process called 3D printing. Beyond delivering support for some of the short term necessities of our economy during the outbreak, Ai Build continues to innovate to enable more resilient and sustainable supply chains in the post-pandemic world.”
Unlike conventional 3D printing with flat horizontal layers, AiSync software is using freeform multi-axis paths to generate machine instructions. With this technique Ai Build produced a curved design of a single strand with variable thickness following the shape of the human head.
The resultant geometry is not only faster to produce but also stronger and more comfortable to wear, sitting tightly between the ears and the forehead without the need of a rubber band.