Folks in the USA and all around the world are suddenly finding themselves with a lot of extra time at home due to limited working and shelter in place orders. Many sewing experts (my wife included) have taken to making basic cloth facemasks to help as one line of defense. Great work!
My company is still operating (we’re a small group anyway) and I’m working remotely, but a 3D printer requires very little interaction once it’s begun its work. It’s been hard to find a solid organized project to use this tool for more than just novelties and gaming and gaming novelties. Until now.
Fortunately, a dentist in the Atlanta area has designed a 3d printed facemask that along with a strap, rubber sealant and a creative use of a Shop-Vac HEPA filter in currently being used in trials by several medical professionals. The plastic mask framework allows the filter material only to be swapped out while the mask can be sterilized separately. Here there are accepting volunteer printed masks, they will add the rubber sealant around the face side and the end-users will add the HEPA filter (to keep that sterile).
This initiative has already garnered support from other dentists in Georgia who will be instructed on prepping the masks themselves. Hopefully it will spread to other states and around the world allowing this secondary line of protection (the real stuff is ALWAYS better, this is just better than nothing — which is the case too often right now) to become rapidly available.
Our local news site article on the process – This includes a link to the doctor’s site where you can find drop off locations, STL file and other details.
If you’re part of the 3d printing community and have some filament and print-time available, you might consider this opportunity to help when and if it comes to your area. If you’re a dental professional, you might considering reaching out to see if you can assist where you are. (There is a Facebook group if you’re not Facebook averse as well)
Mine took about 5:15 hours to print at 15% infill and .40 layer height. I’ll drop them off tomorrow to make sure I don’t need to make adjustments.