THE SWEDISH SHIELD
3D Printed Face Shield
Face shields are personal protective equipment (PPE), used in hospitals, other health care and
essential service environments. They offer protection for the face from coughing, sneezing, spitting,
and other close contact emissions. They also protect the wearers from themselves. Touching your
face is far less likely to happen by accident of habit when a shield is worn. With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for face shields far surpassed the inventory. The need became so great that no amount of money could buy enough shields to protect our front line health care workers.
In a tweet reported on the Rachel Maddow Show, a call to arms went out from a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital for 3D print makers to help fill the need. Deborah Beien of Chicago notified her son Richard, a
print maker. Richard looked up the open source files and printed a few headpieces. Inventive by nature, Richie started tweaking the designs and getting feedback from his mom. His eventual design was simple, effective, easy enough for beginners to print, and small enough for home printers. It minimized the amount of filament used as well as time to print. This design prints in about one hour. Add an elastic strap or large rubber band in the back and a rigid plastic report cover with holes punched like a 3-ring binder and voila, we give you a face shield. Swedish Hospital’s Jennifer Blitz and the Beiens have given their all to helping make this reality. As this shield was being used around town, others started to refer to it as the Swedish Shield and the name stuck. There are other face shield designs, but this one has everything we need.
As we have passed the four week anniversary of our operation, the Swedish Shield team, (it’s more like a family, actually) has printed and distributed more than 10,000 shields. They have gone to hospitals large and small, Covid clinics, eye care and dental offices, food pantries, night ministries, fire departments, private ambulance companies, home health networks, nursing homes, rehab facilities and senior housing. Most of our recipients have a personal connection with one of the Beiens who then get official authorization from the organization’s managers. Although staying local was the original intent, our makers started arriving from
far and wide and our area of donation grew as well. The Swedish Shields are being used from downtown to Uptown, from Gary to Elgin, from Arlington Heights to Berwyn. They are in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, and a Navajo hospital in New Mexico. The prints that have flaws are repurposed by a member of our Facebook group, 3D Printed Face Shields for Swedish, and delivered to high rise garage workers and charitable organizations who serve those in need. We are working to bring this assistance over to Michigan and Iowa as well. We continue to give small amounts to local businesses and people who just want their mom to have a face shield because she works at a nursing home. We are experiencing the power of good every day in many ways. So many ways, on so many levels. We are sending our love and care and shields as far and wide as we possibly can. When this is all over, our pent up demand for hugs is going to be exhausting. We can hardly wait to close up shop.