Face Shield Project Update #2 – Week of Gratitude

Our GoFundMe was featured in the Mercury News last week! Check it out at

100 Face shields and 75 ear savers were delivered to Valley Medical Center on 4/19/2020

I’d like to take a moment to recognize some of the people behind the scenes who have been a critical part of this project’s success so far. 

Maria Gregorio, Lindsay Mancebo, Vanessa Alcantar, and Kylie Borges are Stanford colleagues who are co-leading this project with me. They’ve provided material and financial support, assistance with delivering face shields, delivering essential and hard-to-find equipment to my front door, and have done a fantastic job spreading the word about our project. This project simply would not be where it is without them. Thank you, Maria, Lindsay, Vanessa, and Kylie!

Jim Stoch was the first person I called when I set up the GoFundMe. Jim has an incredible wealth of knowledge when it comes to running successful businesses and non-profits. I was very excited when he agreed to help spread the word. In fact, the feature in the Mercury News was all thanks to him. Jim is currently the President of the MetroEd Foundation, whose mission is to prepare students for high-wage, high-skill occupations in career pathways demanded by the global 21st-century economy. I attended MetroEd’s Fire Science / EMT Program back in 2008, and it gave me skills, experience, and a professional network that I still use to this day. MetroEd, like nearly all educational institutions, is struggling to meet its financial goals in the wake of COVID-19. If their mission is something you’d like to invest in, please consider donating at

Last but not least, I am so grateful to each and every one of you. For those of you who have donated and shared your name on our project page, I’ll soon be adding a line to the labels we place on our face shield kits that proudly display a “This shield made possible by:” tag followed by an individual donor’s first name and last initial. I hope by doing this, we can show the recipients of our face shields the real people in their community who are invested in their health and well-being.

Summary of Deliveries & Production Update

Over the last ten days, we’ve delivered 160 face shields and 195 NIH-approved ‘ear savers’ – a thin plastic strip you can use to keep ears from getting rubbed raw by the bands on a surgical mask. Over 20 pounds of new PETG plastic filament arrived, and printing continues uninterrupted every day. 

Here are a few of the facilities served:

  • Kaiser Skyport: Sunnyvale, CA
  • Valley Medical Center: San Jose, CA
  • Gordon Manor: Redwood City, CA
  • The Johns Hopkins Hospital: Baltimore, MD

I rotated between face shields and tension relief bands for surgical masks this past week to fulfill an order from a local physician. It was a good challenge to produce so many in such a short period of time, and the added pressure helped push me to optimize my print settings, allowing me to shave nearly 40% off of the previous print time.

Total face shields produced: 60
Total tension relief bands produced: 198

Here are some photos from the week:

Create Improve

3D-Printed Face Shields for Healthcare Providers – Project Update

As of April 15th, we’ve reached 25% of our goal. Let’s celebrate with a project update!

Want to skip the text and just see the photos? Check out my regularly updated photo album here –

These past few weeks have been a blur. New face shields and other essential PPE have been materializing nearly non-stop, day and night. It’s lots of work, but a beautiful thing to see. I promise to keep the next updates a bit more succinct, but I have some substantial news to share, so let’s just dive right in. 

Production Update

So what does one week of well-funded printing look like? Quite a lot, as it turns out!

“The Tower” What one week of printing can yield. The masks you see here are being donated to Valley Medical center in San Jose on 4/17/2020

The stack you see in the photo represents 100 units which will be packaged up and delivered to a COVID overflow unit at Valley Medical Center in San Jose tomorrow, 4/17/2020. After finishing this update, I’ll be starting the process of final decontamination, where parts are washed in an alcohol bath, then packaged individually with a clear plastic sheet and elastic band. All plastic parts are compatible with an array of disinfection methods, so they can be reused if cleaned appropriately.

My original estimate of 16-32 face shields per day is holding up well. I’ve split print time to accommodate a request for about one hundred surgical mask relief bands. These will serve to help providers wear surgical masks for longer periods of time with less discomfort, and the design has been approved for clinical use by the National Institutes of Health. Here’s what they look like. 

This device helps relieve strain on your ears if you have to wear a surgical mask for many hours at a time. It provides a measure of comfort, and the idea is that the more comfortable PPE is, the more likely people are to wear it.

Additional Manufacturing Help

I’m happy to announce that I’ve received some help with printing additional shields after my colleague Aaron Paxman volunteered to dedicate his printer to assist in the effort. With the additional funding from the project, I was able to send Aaron off with enough materials to make over 60 additional shields. Thank you, Aaron!

Materials & Supply Chain Update: 

There are three main components to these shields; 3D-printed plastic, laser-cut sheets of transparent PET or acrylic, and finally, an elastic band to secure the shield to the wearer. 

Producing this design at scale required moving quickly and decisively to secure each necessary component before suppliers were sold out, halted shipping due to shelter-in-place, or price-gouged to the point where things were no longer affordable. 

I’ve taken the privilege of each of your donations seriously and worked hard to secure these components at the lowest cost possible without sacrificing quality. I’ll quickly walk you through where the project is with respect to each component. 

3D Printer Filament

Each printer goes through about a pound of plastic filament each day. With your support, I have purchased an additional 22 pounds of filament specially designed for printing PPE that is set to arrive Monday, 4/20. An order of this size would not have been possible without your support! The image below shows what one roll of filament looks like. These come at a cost of about $25-$30 per roll. Each roll makes about 24 face shields!

3d-printer filament. Like a big roll of plastic spaghetti, this is how you feed your material to a printer. Each roll is 1 kg or about 2.2 lbs.

Elastic Band

This was a tough one. Price gouging sent the cost of button elastic skyrocketing in the past few weeks. Shipping delays meant almost all suppliers would not deliver until mid-May at the earliest. At first, the best prices I could find were about $1.75/meter. This was simply too expensive and not a responsible use of project funds. I had been experimenting with using my printers to make plastic headbands with elastic properties but never felt they were good enough for a 1:1 replacement. Thankfully, I found a very generous small business owner in Ji Hoon Heo of Knoxville, TN, who sourced thousands of meters of material and was shipping it out at cost to anyone in need of face shield components. With his help, I was able to get costs down to $0.24/meter. I now have 450 meters of elastic – a little over a quarter-mile of material! This is enough to reach our goal of 1000 and keep going. If you want to support Ji’s business, he runs a service for aftermarket Tesla accessories. Check them out at

1/4 Mile of Elastic band. Enough for 1000+ face shields.

Laser-Cut Clear Plastic Sheets

Thanks to an extremely generous offer from Alec Danaher of Massachusetts, we now have enough PET sheets to make 1000 face shields. Alec had a COVID-19 PPE project of his own and received a donation of roughly 3000’ of transparent PET sheet. He generously offered to laser cut enough clear PET for 1000 units and sent them to Mountain View for nothing more than the cost of shipping! If you were looking for your weekly reminder of the good in this world, look no further than Alec.

Shipping and Deliveries

A major differentiator to this project has been our commitment to helping individuals in need of PPE, in addition to our commitment to accredited healthcare facilities. This commitment comes with an added cost of shipping each order. If you or someone you know has expertise with shipping at scale and can help minimize shipping expenses, please get in touch! This is an area I’m very interested in streamlining and making more efficient. 

Finally, to minimize my exposure, I have decided to ship deliveries in a single batch once each week. For local requests, we have an amazing team of local volunteers who have offered to deliver from all over the Bay Area. I’ve also coordinated contactless deliveries and pickups with minimal face-to-face interaction to minimize exposure for myself and the communities we’re serving. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

I am so touched by the generous support from our friends, family, and community. To all of you who have donated time, financial support, and words of encouragement, I sincerely thank you. The amount of support we’ve received is truly humbling. Without your efforts, the scale and reach of this project would simply not be possible. There is still plenty of work to be done, and I look forward to sharing more with you as our outreach continues. 

Hopefully, you can see the big smile on my face underneath this N99. I am so delighted to be able to help others while doing something I love. Thank you for your support.