To aid the fight against COVID-19, Architecture studio Foster + Partners has created a laser-cut face visor that can be disassembled, sanitized and reused after wearing.
“We are sharing the design templates and material specifications as an open-source design asset,” explains the studio. “This is to encourage both designers and in particular large-scale manufacturers to investigate the potential of digital and laser cutting machines as an alternative to 3D printing technology.”
The prototype visor, designed by a team of industrial designers, modelmakers, architects and analysts, is made from three components: a visor made from 0.5mm optically clear PETG, an interlocking soft PP headband, and a surgical silicone rubber head strap that ties the two together. These are all cut on the practice’s digital flatbed cutter.
Each visor can be cut from sheets in under 30 seconds and the elements can be assembled in under a minute. The masks are fabricated from plastic using a laser cutting machine, as Foster + Partners believes this is faster than 3D-printing components.
Each part of the face shields can be cut within 30 seconds and assembled in under a minute. Using one cutting machine, Foster + Partners cut and assembled 1,000 face shields in a single day.
The visors can be produced and assembled or flat-packed and distributed in large quantities in a short span of time. An important advantage is that the visor can be easily disassembled, cleaned, sanitised and reused, addressing the growing shortage of raw materials for visor production.
“We are now delivering these prototype visors to a number of London hospitals where they are being tested,” said Grant Brooker, head of studio at Foster + Partners. “We are also exploring means of getting the design approved for mass production and use by health workers.”
The design and material specifications are available here to enable others with laser cutters to begin fabrication.