• Daniela Jiménez

Architects and Designers are 3D Printing Visors for Personal Staff


Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, shortage of protection gear for medical staff is a problem arising everywhere in the world. Doctors and nurses are having to reuse masks and even, in some cases, not use them. To solve this problem, architects and designers are using their 3D printers to design and print protection visors and donate them to hospitals where doctors are in dire need of protection.


Among the architecture firms that started this initiative are BIG, KPF and Handel Architects; they pulled resources together to manufacture said visors destined for nurses and doctors that are working directly with COVID-19 patients. Several firms around the world are using their own 3D printers to give and answer to the huge need for these kind of gear. All printed visors are being directly delivered to hospitals.

Many firms are using Erik Cederberg's design, he works for Swiss company 3DVerkstan, he created an open sourced file with the designs of the visors. The transparent piece of the visors are cut using laser and the band the holds it together is 3D printed, this way the visor covers the users entire face.


"It's brilliant because of its simplicity. Its a simple 3D impression of PLA 3D (polylactic acid) with a transparent sheet that has three holes, it makes for a very effective protection piece". – Erik Cederberg

This kind of visors are ideal to protect doctors from bodily fluids which could put them at risk of getting infected. Besides, they can be used with masks without incommoding the user and providing even more protection.

The effort is being coordinated by AAP, Architecture, Art and Planning Faculty, as well as the Engineering Faculty at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. "Yesterday we delivered hundreds of visors at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City." said Jenny Sabin, architecture professor at Cornell University and director at Jenny Sabin Studio.


All the visors go through a decontamination process the moment they get to their final destination, then they're distributed to doctors, nurses and other medical professionals that are in constant contact with COVID-19 patients. The network has grown in an unexpected way with all the architects that are joining in, in only four days they have established a line of production and distribution.


Protection visors, designed by 3DVerkstan, were tested and verified by Weill Cornell Medicine in New York to ensure their proper working and protection against the virus. Sabin has published in an open source file manufacturing instruction so that those who want to join efforts and so that other countries who want to join in can access the design.

Sabin said to Dezeen magazine, "Weill Cornell Medicine need around 20,000 to 50,000 protection visors a day in New York City. We have learned that the need for the 3D printed piece is lower, they need around 3,000 pieces a day." This is because the transparent part of the visor need to be disinfected or changed after every turn.

BIG, architecture firm has destined its office space to manufacture visors and are expecting to produce around 5,000 visors per week. After using the plug-in Erik Cederberg made for 3D printers, they can print about 50 components at the same time instead of printing one by one. They'll also turn their London and Copenhague offices for the manufacture of the visors and respond to need in said cities.

The design community is joining forces too, a clear example is Nagami Design that has adapted their space for furniture production for the manufacturing of protection visors. Leading fashion brands have started to produce surgery masks, as well as Carlo Ratti Associati have developed a design for shipping containers to be converted in intensive care units for patients that are lacking in space for treating COVID-19 patients.

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© 2019 by Daniela Jiménez.