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Need a Face Shield Fast? Make Your Own

A New York sheet metal prototype specialist is sharing PDF and DWG files it developed to make face shields comprising a Mylar shield with an adjustable stainless steel headband. Unlike much personal protective equipment (PPE), they can be used more than once.

Posted: May 4, 2020

Incodema was established in 2001 as a short run sheet metal provider. Here, master toolmaker Clint Seely and President Illa Burbank demonstrate the personal protective equipment (PPE) the company developed for a local medical center to use in treating New York City coronavirus patients.
Comprising a Mylar face shield held in place by a stainless-steel headband with holes in each end so users can tighten them with a piece of elastic, the face shields can be sanitized and reused. Within a week, Incodema produced and evaluated three revisions based on feedback from Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, N.Y.
Incodema cut the stainless steel headbands using MC Machinery’s Mitsubishi 3015 LVPlus CO2 laser.
Sheet metal fast-prototype specialist Incodema used a Mitsubishi MV1200-R wire EDM to create tooling that could bend parts on a Mitsubishi Diamond BB4013 press brake. However, the reusable face shield design doesn’t require use of a press brake machine; simple hand tools can also do the job.


Most fast-turnaround personal protective equipment (PPE) uses non-sanitizable materials like foam or low-quality plastic and can only be worn once. So when a local medical center asked Incodema to produce face shields, the precision cutting and forming sheet metal manufacturer decided to craft a more sustainable solution.

Initially, the team used a MicroCut machine to cut 46 plastic face shields. When they couldn’t find elastic to hold the shield in place, they created a design that wraps partway around the head and fastens in the back with Velcro. Then they came up with a design to wrap the headgear partway around the head using stainless steel.

The first prototypes were developed and delivered within four days for trial over the weekend by Ithaca’s Cayuga Medical Center (CMC). Based on CMC’s feedback, Incodema tweaked the design three times to make the band closer fitting and include holes in the back for an optional elastic fastener for longer-term use. Within seven days, Incodema finalized and presented the face shields to the CMC team right they headed to New York City to treat coronavirus patients.

The company has posted the designs and instructions as JPG and open-source CAD DWG files on its website. For the plastic shield, Incodema found Mylar to be sturdier and less prone to scratching. Contact or 607-277-7070 for more information.

“We applaud our team for their quick response and creative ideas in developing a solution in support of the fight against COVID-19,” says President Illa Burbank. “Our team thrives on challenges, viewing them as an opportunity for success.”

Launched in 2001 in Ithaca, N.Y., Incodema stands for INvent, COncept, DEsign, MAnufacture. The company’s 45 engineers, designers, QA experts, and administrators develop and produce prototype sheet metal stampings, intricate metal forming, short-run production stamping, laser cutting, photochemical machining (PCM), CNC machining, fused deposition modeling (FDM), wire EDM, stereolithography (SLA), selective laser sintering (SLS), and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). In 2012, it was the first U.S. firm to buy a Micro Waterjet LLC microwaterjet F3 system, which cuts to ±0.0005 inches.

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