Today I got started making the first prototype for the face shields and I learned a lot about the materials that I really need to make these. I'm also in the process of optimizing the design to be as cost-efficient as possible.
Drawing in spiration from Budmen Industries' design, I 3D modeled and 3D printed my own face shield part s. I also added a little "Crafting the Curve" label in the inside of the shield for subtle branding, but this will be hidden from view when worn (the above picture shows the shield upside down).
As I was trying to feed Velcro straps through the loops, I actually ended up breaking the prototype. D=
I immediately modified the 3D design to make the part stronger and more robust, and am currently printing it out now to work on tomorrow. The printing time for a single piece on its own is about 2-3 hours, but it could be faster if I print multiple parts at the same time.
I also learned that the plastics that I bought are unsuitable. I bought a Scotch Display Pocket for more expensive, rigid, but smaller plastic, and 12"x12" sheet protectors for cheap, flimsy, and large plastic. I tried to modify the sheet protectors to make them more rigid but the task was clearly not feasible for this type of project. Therefore, for this prototype I used one side of the display pocket for the plastic shield. This alone costs $1.80, and would likely mean these shields would cost around $3 each. While cheaper than other similar projects, I know I can do better, and my initial goal was to make these for $2 each.
I did some research and found a good place to buy suitable plastic for about $0.37 per shield. However, the standard shipping ($7) takes about 3-5 business days to arrive, and next day shipping costs over $100! I ordered enough to make 50 shields using standard shipping, but this cost gave me another idea...
Fundraising—I'm going to use GoFundMe to raise money for this cause! I think this is a really cool opportunity but I'm going to need a lot of social connections and advertising to get this to take off. Since I don't have an unbroken prototype to make content with, I will probably try to launch the campaign on Thursday or Friday. I'll have to forego my goal of making these by this Saturday; next Saturday is my new deadline. If I raise enough money soon I'll be able to buy these plastics with next day shipping and I could buy different kinds of plastic to see which works better too.
With the new plastic, I should easily reach the $2 goal, since the 3D printed parts cost about $1 each, the plastic costs $0.37, the velcro costs around $0.42, and the foam costs $0.10 and superglue needed should be a negligible expense. This brings the total to $1.89.
But I would really like to bring this down to $1! I'll be putting in some more work to see what I can do to reach this insanely cost-efficient goal, making sure that everything works properly and safely in the end.
Stay safe and stay healthy!