Save Lives w 3D Printed Face Shields

The engineering teachers and students at Charlotte Latin School are raising funds to 3D print face shields for nurses and doctors who are treating patients who may have Covid-19.

$10 goes toward the production of 2 face shields that are reusable and can protect 2 frontline medical workers throughout this crisis. (Note: Face shields are NOT for sale. They are made then donated to local hospitals, first responders, etc. )

Due to the nationwide shortage of medical protective gear, even health professionals in Charlotte, NC are affected. Hospitals have a low supply of masks and are asking staff to reuse the ones they have -- at times tasked to make 1 mask last a 10-hour shift -- all of which pose major health risks.

As supplies run short, the CDC and hospitals have changed their guidelines for what level of protections are recommended. 

In support of the #MillionMaskChallenge,  a group of makers in Charlotte got together with Charlotte Latin and UNCC with the hope of producing over 1,000 face shields. We started with a design made by Prusa, and after a few days of minor modifications, were able to prototype the first few dozen and get them in the hands of doctors at Atrium Health.

The result is a clear plastic shield that extends an inch or two in front of someone’s nose, leaving the user enough room to wear a surgical mask or N95 mask underneath thus protecting the integrity of those masks and giving an extra shield against contamination.

NOTE: The design follows the standards outlined in the CDC "Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Face Masks."

Seungjean Chai, MD, is a physician at Atrium Health with a specialty in medical oncology (cancer). He also serves as the President of the Medical Staff for Carolinas Medical Center and Mercy and is the Director of Medical Operations for Levine Cancer Institute.  He oversees governance for doctors and the hospital, as well as operation oversight for the cancer center. 

Janie Chai, MD is a pediatrician with Novant Health Pediatrics SouthPark. The Chai’s have 2 daughters who attend Charlotte Latin School. 

Tom Dubick is the Fab Lab Director and the Innovation and Design Chair at Charlotte Latin School. He has over 30 years of experience as a teacher and engineering evangelist who has promoted Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.) education in and outside of the K-12 classroom. 

Terence Fagan is a Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Engineering Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  

Azalea Kim, MD, MBA, MPA, is Chief of Staff to the Chief Medical Officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. She is a primary care physician and Medical Director for Applied Health Data Science and Strategy for Duke Forge, Duke University's Center for Health Data Science, and Duke Health Technology Solutions.

Anna Chai is interim COO for this grassroots emergency relief fund. She is an Emmy Award-winning Director / Showrunner known for her work with Christiane Amanpour and the late Anthony Bourdain. She is happy to leverage her project management skills for such a worthy cause.

The founding members include:
- Charlotte Latin School
- Levine Cancer Institute @ Atrium Health
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
- University of North Carolina @ Charlotte
- Wake Forest Baptist Hospital 

As practicing physicians, we see firsthand the effects of the lack of protective gear. We worry about our patients, our colleagues, and ourselves. Until the supply of N95 masks is replenished, we have to look to other solutions. We have to be resourceful and protect the health and safety of our community. Face shields provide increased protection for staff forced to re-use masks or use home-made masks or bandanas. And since face shields are plastic and can be sanitized, they offer reusable protection for weeks, instead of hours. 

In support of the #MillionMaskChallenge, the engineering team at Charlotte Latin intend to 3D print face shields that will be provided to local hospitals in Charlotte, starting with the Levine Cancer Institute.

We would like to manufacture 10,000 face shields.

How will the funds be used?
100% of the funds will go directly towards the manufacture of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  We will start by producing face shields using FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printers. Charlotte Latin and University of North Carolina at Charlotte have generously offered use of their 3D printers, enabling the funds to go towards the purchase of PLA and PTEG filaments, elastic, and sanitizing supplies.  We may produce other forms of PPE.  

Your donations will not be applied to any administrative fees. If we raise enough money, we hope to expand our donations to other hospitals in need. 

How are you manufacturing the face shields?
We are fortunate to have access to the 3D printers at Charlotte Latin and UNCC. They are working around the clock to print the components for face shields. Once the components have been printed and checked for quality control, our team of volunteers will assemble the face shields by hand, sanitize the finished product, and prep them for delivery. Update: we are also partnering with local sources with 3D printers.  Go to for more information.

How are you distributing the face shields?
In partnership with local hospitals, we will personally hand-deliver the face shields to frontline healthcare workers.  We will ensure that they are used as protective gear in a medical setting.

Starting on Sunday, March 22nd, we will be delivering face shields to the ICU and Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Atrium Health. 
We have also given to emergency rooms as well as the Cancer centers.
**As of March 28, we have delivered 536 face shields to healthcare workers locally to include Intensive Care Units, Emergency Rooms, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, drive through testing centers for Covid and many more.

I’ve seen other charity efforts related to COVID-19. How is this one different?
We would like to see every patient-facing clinician have access to a face shield. Your donation will go directly towards developing a way to get emergency supplies of face shields for nurses, doctors, and other medical staff in Charlotte, NC and the region.

We believe that protecting our frontline healthcare workers is the most important thing to do right now. By safeguarding them, we also help ensure the health of the community in Charlotte, NC. 

We will be sharing photos & videos of healthcare workers receiving the donated equipment, so you can see your impact on the local NC community.

Are donations tax deductible?
Currently, donations are NOT tax-deductible. If you know of a 501(c)3 charity in this space that would like to sponsor our effort, we would love to partner with them.

For now, the priority is producing a steady stream of face shields that can be distributed to various hospitals in and around Charlotte, NC.

Aside from donations, how can we help?
If you want to volunteer to help with assembly or distribution, you can e-mail us with a subject headline “PPE Distribution Help”.  Please also include in your email  your contact information: cell phone, address (we are organizing by zip code). number of people that can assemble and whether or not you can help distribute and pick up. We also need to know what size car you have.

If you have 5 or more 3D printers and want to make face shields, you can go directly to to submit your name for this.

If you are have a direct relationship with suppliers of PPE materials that can provide materials at market costs, you can e-mail us with a subject headline “PPE Materials."

If you are a member of the press, you can e-mail us with a subject headline “Media Request." NOTE: Right now, we're focused on making and providing 10K face shields but we may consider press opportunities in the future.

Twitter: @CLT_MEDI
Instagram: @clt_medi

Thank you for helping to protect America's healthcare workers!

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Fundraising team: CLS Fab Lab Academy (2)

Dr. S. Jean Chai 
Charlotte, NC
Anna Chai 
Team member
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