This page is setup to assist with the current Corona virus pandemic. The seriousness of this situation is alarming. Self-isolation and that of your family may mean, caring for those individuals –on your own. Hospitals may be overwhelmed, not accepting new patients, care for any kind of health condition may be difficult to receive (source in UK here). Shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) are also alarming. It is due to this concern that I’m making this prototype (below) available to help expedite testing, improvements and community support.
Around March 17th, I had read several articles where n95 masks are very hard to come by. Many hospitals are re-using the same masks for much longer than their intended life or making do with bandannas or scarves. When I read this, my heart sank. The very next day I decided to try to do something about it. Please read highlighted sections before continuing!
*NOTE – The author of this page is not a medical professional, nor an expert in pandemics, nor well-versed in any of this. I’m experiencing this for the first time, just like you. I’m a tech guy, just trying to help in a very difficult situation. All information below will have sources cited to help make this informative and accurate as possible.
The following are 3D printable items that have been found to be helpful. These were not designed by me and are available for printing today. I recommend taking a close look at these and printing them for your local hospitals. Also, I recommend donating anything you print. I personally began printing the Protective Face Shields to help my community.
- Prusa Protective Face Shield – These face shields should be used with an N-95 face mask, if available. There are stackable models available so you can print multiple shields at one time.
- 3D Printable Mask for COVID-19 – Please see the link for details and download for this mask. I think it’s awesome that one is already available and it appears to be a great design.
Our first batch of 18 3D Printed Face Shields will be going out on 4/2/2020 to local area hospitals.
- CDC said to be considering asking people to cover their face in public – This article indicates that the CDC is considering asking people to cover their face in public –but would reserve masks for medical workers.
3D Printed Facemask
*NOTE – See above for a 3D Printed Face Shield and Mask that are available today!
The following is a prototype I worked on. It is not to be used for the current situation as there is no testing that has been done to determine it’s effectiveness. The model is available for download should you wish to help improve the design or take a look at the current version.
PPE’s or Personal Protective Equipment is being rationed for many healthcare workers world-wide. Many are being asked to use the same masks repeatedly (even multiple days or weeks) which of course decreases their effectiveness (source here). With literally hundreds of thousands of 3D printers out there, collectively we should be able to help fill that void of supplies. However, in doing so provides some dangers. The masks need to be inspected closely to make sure there are no print defects, splits between the layers and careful quality inspection. PLA isn’t as flexible as an N95 mask and therefore could crack/split so be cautious of this and inspect before every use! That said, having this should mean better protection than nothing at all and probably better than a bandanna or scarf.
In an effort to help reduce our dependency on N95 masks, given they are virtually unavailable and manufactured in China, I’ve been working on a 3D Printed solution. I don’t have the equipment, nor expertise to identify the best filtration material to be used. I’ll leave that for the experts, here is an article that may be helpful. What I can do is design a device that can be worn and will utilize whatever filtration material the user has available. You will need a 3D Printer to make this device. If you don’t have one, perhaps you could ask a friend or relative to print one for you (drop it off at your doorstep and call once it’s there, don’t enter the home).
I’m hoping in the coming days to get some feedback from some friends in the medical profession and I have sent this information to the CDC for their review (never heard back). I’m sure they are quite overwhelmed, so not sure if/when I may hear back. If you can help verify this design, perform your own tests and make recommendations for improvement, it would be greatly appreciated! Please do not post this to Thingiverse (or elsewhere), I want to be able to update versions easily in real-time and have a single place to do that.
An interesting report of the best materials for making DIY masks may be found here. At the top of the list is, of course, the N95 mask which is difficult for most to acquire. Below that is Vacuum cleaner bags. Again, I can’t tell you what to use, I honestly don’t know but use this page for ideas/suggestions!
Tips for the Mask
- Keep your printer bed leveled frequently, more so than normal. Any deviations may cause cracks/slippage which will render the print unusable.
- Use PLA plastic, it’s non-toxic.
- Always wear eye protection when using this mask for added safety!
- Hold each print up to the light (or flashlight), if you see any imperfections such as light clearly showing through to the inside of the print, cracks, throw it away – clean the bed, re-level the bed or possibly use a different filament.
- Place your hands over each of the air intakes tightly, place the mask over your nose and mouth and breath in. It should be nearly impossible to breath in while covered. If that’s the case, the print is ready for a filter. If you are making it for someone else, be sure to disinfect the mask thoroughly before giving it to them.
- Use the filter cap to trace the circle against the material you wish to use. Cut it and make sure that it fully covers the inside of the intake (no gaps). Add a 2nd layer, if you can breath through the material.
- If the filter caps don’t hold tightly, some strong tape to keep them in place.
Before downloading, read and understand the following:
THIS IS A PROTOTYPE: This is not an approved medical device, there may be issues / defects. I am requesting assistance from agencies and individuals but have NOT YET RECEIVED feedback. I cannot and will not guarantee that it meets any usage criteria. I can’t verify it’s effectiveness against the current situation, I don’t have the equipment nor the expertise to do so. If I receive any input from the CDC, WHO or others I will update this statement. Until such time, do not use this device for any medical purposes – if you do –it is entirely at your own risk!
Latest Update (3/26/2020) : filterMask_20200326_R6.zip
Below are some images of the current prototype:
A friend who has a resin printer gave this model a try and the results are absolutely amazing! Definitely adding a resin printer to my future shopping list.
- Printed in Hatchbox PLA (White)
- Very low-quality print