HMC Architects is among the latest design brands to manufacture face shields for the heroic healthcare workers on the front lines everyday responding to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Using the Columbia University Library Studios information as a guide, the design firm is applying its fabrication capabilities and Ultimaker 3D printers to manufacture PPE face shields and make them available to hospitals and clinics in its communities who are currently facing a mask shortage as novel coronavirus continues to sweep through the nation.

“As architects, we design to make people’s lives better,” said HMC President and CEO Brian Staton. “If there was any time for innovative design firms to step up and provide resources to make a difference in the lives of our communities, it’s right now. We hope to distribute as many as we can to support the efforts of our heroic healthcare workers.”

With its Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 5S printers running all day, every day from work-from-home locations in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Sacramento, and Ontario, Calif., HMC designers are estimating up to 35 face shields per day.

The face shields are made up of three parts:

  1. An elastic headband holding the shield in place on the healthcare worker’s head.
  2. A 3D-printed headband connecting the elastic to the transparent shield that rests on the healthcare worker’s forehead.
  3. A transparent shield made of impermeable acetate.

Using 3D models provided by from the Columbia University Library Studios website, the firm is able to coordinate a lot of information at the same time to fabricate the 3D printed headband that connects the elastic to the shield. HMC partnered with Solatube International, a worldwide leader and manufacturer of tubular daylighting devices, who donated the face shield material. Other materials such as foam weather stripping for comfort and all-day use, elastic straps for the headbands, and Ziploc bags for packaging are being sourced from local hardware and fabric retailers.

During and after the items have been produced, HMC designers are sanitizing the shields and packaging them for distribution. The firm’s healthcare practice put together a strategy to provide shields to healthcare organizations most in need. To date, HMC has shipped to several of its healthcare clients including: Temecula Valley Hospital, Adventist Health White Memorial, Adventist Health Glendale, Kaweah Delta Medical Center, CHOC Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, USC University of Southern California, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, Clovis Community Medical Center, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and San Antonio Regional Hospital.

Reports suggested if coronavirus would be declared a pandemic—which the World Health Organization (WHO) did declare on March 11—medical workers in the U.S. would need an estimated 3.5 billion face masks over the year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.