To protect against spread of COVID-19, local dentist and staff are using face shields produced by UH Hilo 3D lab

The reusable face shields are being produced at the UH Hilo Department of Computer Science through a 3D printing project headed by Francis Cristobal, a faculty specialist.

By Susan Enright

Dentist stands with staff, all wearing the face shields.
Dr. Donn Ouye, DDS, (far right) and staff wear face shields produced at UH Hilo. Courtesy photo from Jean Ouye.

To protect themselves and patients from possible COVID-19 exposure, Hilo dentist Donn Ouye and staff are using reusable face shields created in a 3D lab at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

Francis Cristobal
Francis Cristobal

The face shields are being produced at the Department of Computer Science through a 3D printing project headed by Francis Cristobal, a faculty specialist. He is being assisted by Associate Professor of Art Jon Geobel at the UH Hilo Department of Art, and engineering student Michael Dodge, a UH Hilo alumnus and now a pre-engineering student at UH Mānoa.

First, Cristobal and his lab team wanted to produce the shields for Hilo Medical Center in case they ever ran out. The team then began looking into donating the face shields to the front liners like the fire department, post office, and UH Hilo customer-facing staff. They have delivered the reususable faceshields to UH Hilo Admissions, Financial Aid, and the Registrars Offices to prepare for fall.

“You’ve really helped the UH Hilo Enrollment Services feel better prepared for the opening of the campus in fall 2020!” notes Dolly Roth, a degree audit coordinator.

Now, Dr. Donn Ouye, DDS, a local dentist, and his staff are also beneficiaries.

“Thank you so much for supplying us with face shields!” writes Dr. Ouye in an email to Cristobal on May 18. “We were able to start seeing patients for cleanings and elective procedures today. Much appreciated!”

“The masks have been working great!” daughter Jean Ouye adds in a follow up email. “We just added a bit of foam to the edge so it’s more comfortable to wear throughout the day. I think the design of the visor works great because the shield doesn’t fog up.”

To make the reusable face shields, Cristobal and his team tested a couple of models available online and picked the best features to design their own.

“We wanted it to use the least amount of 3D print filament possible while keeping its durability,” Cristobal explains. “We want it to be printed in one piece, clearance at the front to minimize fogging, easy to sanitize and to use with easy accessible office supplies. In this case, a flat, or any, elastic, [and] PVC clear cover. The idea of the face shield is to use it with a face mask.”

He adds, “We designed it to be resusable so it doesn’t go to waste after one use. Just need to sanitize and if the film goes bad replace it.”

Read full story about the making of the shields and how to request shields for your own use or workplace:

UH Hilo produces prototype medical equipment with 3D printing to help community prepare for COVID-19


Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.

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