Dr Katherine Dunn, SynthSys PI, has been coordinating Covid-19-related activities in the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. Technicians at the University developed the shields – which take around 70 seconds to produce – to help meet unprecedented demand for protective gear during the pandemic.
The School had already been using 3D printing to make headbands for face shields and has donated nearly 1200 shields in this way - with hundreds more ready to deliver to local health and social care experts.
However, with 3D printer filament becoming harder to source, and because it can take several minutes to print parts, the team developed a laser-cutting approach.
The new shields are much quicker to make and are also believed to be reusable, the team says.
More than 300 of their laser-cut shields have so far been donated.The team is currently able to produce up to 1000 laser-cut shields per week and hopes to boost capacity by using other laser-cutters on campus.
Staff in the School of Engineering are collaborating with colleagues across the University on a range of Covid-19 related projects.