We’ve seen countless versions of 3D printed face shields and masks for COVID-19, and many have their merits and are making a real difference on the ground. The latest design that has been brought to our attention stands out for a particular reason: it is customizable. A team from 3D scanning specialist Bellus3D recently teamed up with Rhode Island-based 3D printing service R&D Technologies to fine tune and scale production of the personalized 3D printed face mask fitter.
The face mask design itself is simple and not too different in concept from this low-cost mask designed by a GE Additive engineer. The idea is that a nearly two-dimensional plastic frame contours the wearer’s nose and mouth and can be fitted with a cloth or filter material. It can also be worn over a more conventional cloth mask to create a seal and prevent fogging if you wear glasses or a face shield.
The mask is customizable thanks to a special FaceApp developed by Bellus3D, which is compatible with the iPhone and free to download. This app is capable of capturing a 3D scan of the user’s face and of generating a tailored 3D mask design file, which can subsequently be 3D printed.
To streamline the production of the custom mask frames, Bellus3D enlisted the help of 3D printing service provider R&D Technologies, which offers 3D printing capabilities to customers across the United States. The standard mask fitter is available in a range of colors and is printed from ASA plastic (each mask fitter is sold for $40). Those with 3D printers can download the STL file from the app at no charge and print their own.
R&D Technologies has also developed a premium version of the customizable mask fitter: a piece made from robust Ultem1010 material which can withstand the high temperatures of autoclave treatment for thorough sterilization.