Making PPE at Home

Image from iOS (13)

6 weeks ago, we started our trip into self isolation to protect the immunocompromised in my family. The last month has been quite an adjustment. I saw a lot of maker friends making PPE, and I was just too exhausted from working and home schooling to even attempt something extra.  Aaron and I wanted to help, but we just didn’t have the energy to figure out the complexity of materials etc, on top of just trying to get groceries and keep our kids learning, etc.

Fast forward a month to a little extra kindness from Becky Stern who mailed me some face masks she’d sewn. Yes, I can sew my own masks, but again, I just was lacking the energy to make the amount needed for a four person family. That little extra kindness finally gave Aaron and I the motivation to figure out how we could flex our maker muscles and help local healthcare workers.

We started small….

Ear Guards

I’d seen this post about the boy scout who printed ear guards to help save the ears of healthcare workers.

Here is the file the boy scout used and it is a super quick and easy print! You can print these without a raft and there is no extra work needed. Just print, disinfect, and give to your local healthcare workers.


Ethan’s Dad (on Twitter) shared Ethan’s method or making and disinfecting ear savers too.



Face Shields

3D Printed Visor

The PPE face shields were a bit harder for Aaron and I to figure out. We wanted to make them, but didn’t know the best plastic, print files, etc.

Becky sent me a few ideas from her New York Hackerspace that is making PPE, these great face shield files if you have a larger print bed, and this link from Adafruit for smaller print beds like mine.

Aaron had a lot of suggestions from friends too, and we finally landed on a workflow today that is worth sharing.


3D Print File for Visor

We are printing this file for the visor found on Adafruit. (No modifications, thanks to the original creator!)

Vinyl Cut Face Shield and Add-on

We are using this plastic that we actually had from making phone holograms in our #bigmaker book, it’s 12 X 12 so we can cut a wider mask then if we were using an 8.5 X 11 transparency.  Plus, this plastic is just a tad thicker.  For my vinyl cutter, I modified a file for the face shield from my friend Patrick Benfield at Co.lab.  (Thanks to Patrick for making and donating PPE too!) Here is the original pdf file Patrick sent me, and here is the file I modified to work with the three hole punch on the smaller visor printed on a smaller print bed. ( I have a Cricut Maker, but you could cut this on a Cricut Air or a Silhouette Cameo as an acetate material.)

The Add-on

I cut this file from Sophy Wong on my Cricut, but had to make some minor adjustmentsto work with the visors I’ve been printing.

Files for Cutting Plastic or PETG

Other options for plastic

Elijah, one of the awesome junior Mythbusters, suggested this plastic for face shields as well.


Corinne Takara is making face shields for food workers and suggested Duralar as a source for face shields.


Make and Donate

If you can help out and make PPE make sure you sanitize your work station, wear protective gear while making, and donate to those who need it!

If you need PPE, check out this group that is helping organize PPE for docs and nurses.



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