More IDSA Members Are Making PPE to Beat COVID-19

Apr 13 2020 - 3:24pm


Not long after the global COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, members of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) began laser-cutting and 3D-printing face masks for healthcare workers, due to a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Jonathan Thai, IDSA is the principal industrial designer and co-founder with Michael Yim of Hatch Duo in Santa Clara, CA. The team at Hatch Duo are making face shields to donate to local hospitals, with the help of nonprofit donations to their GoFundMe page. They also have provided a DIY walkthrough of their process, so that others can make face shields to donate to hospitals and clinics in their area.

Says Thai:

"Our aim was to create an accessible and scalable 'open-source build' face shield, one in which you don’t need a background in design or engineering to make yourself. We thought, 'What can anyone build with a pair of scissors and access to the Internet?' Through understanding that design can go beyond just the product, we aimed to emphasize a 'Do It Yourself' process."

According to Thai, Hatch Duo's face shield design has been evaluated by their local Kaiser Infection Prevention Committee and approved for use in Kaiser's COVID-19 rapid response unit. More information on the project and how to help can be found here


In Dallas, TX, Seth Orsborn, IDSA, a research professor at Southern Methodist University and director of the on-campus prototyping space Deason Innovation Gym, is making DTM3 face shields. Since all the students are learning remotely, Orsborn says, he and his team have switched to small-batch producing the face shields, and are giving them away to Dallas-area hospitals and clinics.

They began with the Josef Prusa RC2 design that was shared on Core77, Orsborn says. After following with iterations, they are now making the DTM3 face shields that have been approved by National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"We’re 3D printing the halo, using sewing elastic for the band, and laser cutting the face shield from PETG or APET," Orsborn explains. "We’re assembling them ourselves and bagging them in sets of 10." Currently, they are donating these face shields to UT Southwestern Medical Center, a large hospital; Brookdale Hospice Care, which serves many elderly patients, and Watermark Urgent Care, a local clinic that treats the uninsured. 

"We’re just ramping up our output to about 300 per week, which allows us to deliver to everyone every week until this," the novel coronavirus, "passes us by."

Visit IDSA's COVID-19 Updates & Resources page for the latest information from our Society. For tips on how to design from home, visit IDSA's new Remote Designing Resource Center.