COVID-19 low-cost disposable face shield

The COVID-19 crisis has seen the world coming up with novel solutions to personal protective equipment (PPE). In many countries the problem is less to do with a shortage of PPE and more to do with distribution challenges of getting the PPE to the users. For this reason local distributed manufacturing, through the use of 3D printers and/or laser cutters, is becoming a popular method for resolving such distribution challenges.

Face shields have been a popular example for which 3D printers have been proposed. This is completely fine if just making a few shields, but scaling up to larger production, particularly with desktop printers, can be hard. Some of the shortest print times we have seen, just for the shield frames, have been around 20 minutes. In contrast, laser cutting is a substantially faster method of manufacturing face shields.

Associate Professor Don Clucas, of Canterbury University, has developed a rapidly producible, disposable, low-cost face shield for medical staff. Most importantly, it is very similar to what medical staff are used to wearing, so is less likely to see any objection to it being used.

Comprised of a laser cut 0.25mm PET face shield, a laser cut foam pad for spacing and ventilation and an elastic band, it can be manufactured in about 15 seconds of laser cutting for the shield and just over 15 seconds for the foam.

The DXF or AI files for laser cutting are available below:


shield DXF file


shield Adobe Illustrator file

Notes: Use 0.25mm thick PET as is commonly used by the packaging industry for vacuum forming. When laser cutting, it is best to raise the PET above the honeycomb to avoid soot marking the bottom of the visor.

After cutting, use 50/50 dish washing liquid and water to clean the shield. This both cleans and helps prevent static and fogging.

Foam block

foam DXF file


foam Adobe Illustrator file

Notes: the foam is 36mm thick open cell foam like that used in foam mattresses.

When laser cutting, it is best to raise the PET above the honeycomb to avoid soot marking the bottom of the foam.

If necessary, wash the foam using a 50/50 dish washing liquid and water mix, and thoroughly dry it before use.

If you come up with any further improvements, please email them to us at and we'll update the downloadable files on the site.

The model wearing the face shield is Emma Clucas, who also put together the first production run of face shields.


First laser cut the PET visor and foam block with the files provided. If no laser cutter is available, they can also be cut by hand. Then follow the simple assembly instructions below. If you are making many units, we suggest you make a jig to make assembly faster and more precise.

copyright 2020, olaf diegel