Support great content
Help us bring you the AM insights that matter
AM in the time of COVID-19AM IndustryOpen Source

Copper3D organizing global campaign to 3D print antimicrobial masks on a global scale

Download the open source antimicrobial mask 3D printable model here

Copper has been used in clinical settings to reduce the risk of bacterial and viral contamination, complementing traditional protocols, and one of the leading companies for 3D printing in this field is Copper3D, producing filaments for antimicrobial devices. In fact, copper is considered to be one of the most effective materials that exist for killing coronavirus.

“As a company, we have a very practical approach. We look for great challenges to solve and we analyze what mix, between technology and design, could lead us to an effective and novel solution to that problem. We have a great ally at our side which is antimicrobial 3D printing, with this technology and intelligent designs many problems can be solved […] All of this in very intense work loops since many of these problems are really urgent, as in the case of this COVID-19 pandemic”, said Co-founder Daniel Martínez.

3D print antimicrobial masksAnd it was precisely this pandemic of COVID-19 that led Copper 3D to quickly think of a solution for the global shortage of N95 masks due to the exponential increase in world demand for this product, to which was added another additional factor; the fall in distribution chains worldwide. So they quickly worked on developing the patent for a model similar to a standard N95 mask but with some peculiarities (Antiviral, Reusable, Modular, Washable, Recyclable, Low-Cost), which were completely designed in a digital environment so that it could be downloaded anywhere in the world and 3D printed with any FDM/FFF equipment, even a low cost one. The name of this mask in “NanoHack”.

Daniel Martínez elaborates on this topic: “Now the challenge was purely logistical because there was a breakdown of the distribution chains in the world. On the other hand, 3D printing takes time, for example, one of these masks takes around 2:00 hrs. to print what forced us to think collaboratively based on the concept of Distributed Manufacturing and networks of 3D printers working 24/7 in order to make a big amount of masks in a short time. That’s when we decided that we should coordinate a worldwide network of startups, makers, universities and partner companies that will help us to print these masks, in order to quickly amplify access to this design and make it really have a global impact. And that’s exactly what we did: Hack this pandemic with Nanotechnology, 3D Printing, Distributed Manufacturing and Networks of Collaboration with many organizations and people around the world.

Additionally, Copper3D decided to immediately release the patent (which was filed and pending) so that this design would be completely Open Source. This is probably the first case in the history of 3D printing that the same design is downloaded massively worldwide to prevent more deaths in the context of a pandemic.

Please add/discuss anything useful related to this in the dedicated forum.

Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst for leading US-firm SmarTech Analysis, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he Co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

Related Articles

104 Comments

        1. Hello Federico,
          I work for a 3d printing company in the US. I have downloaded the files and would like to print some of these masks. Do you know which material would be appropriate?

          Thanks in advance!

          1. you can use a round facial cotton pad for makeup and a pice of a conventional mask.

          1. You can still get Purement PLA, which is antimicrobial, on Ebay. They’re selling out of it fast though, so you might want to hurry.

    1. Electrostatic melt-Blown Fabric, Polypropylene Non-Woven Fabric 95% Filter fine Particles, 3 Layers of Fabric can be DIY Finished Product × 30, with Nose Bridge Strip and Ear Band

      Amazon.
      This gets a whole kit but you really only need the bands and the fabric.

  1. Wondering if there is a any kind of guide directing people on both printer settings and fitting the mask to a patients face.

    Given this filament will inevitably become very valuable & hard to find I’m also curious if it’s possible to print the top cap in something like generic PETG/PLA to save on material.

    1. You should use PLACTIVE antimicrobial PLA, Otherwise the claims of the mask are no longer valid.
      We will upload a more specific instructions for the correct use of the mask.

      Best

      Daniel

      Copper3D

      1. Daniel,
        Is there a 3d printer that an average person could buy to help with this effort?

        Duran

        1. The masks fit on the bed of my Anet A8, which is 220 x 220 mm. I think the low priced Ender 3 is also that size.

      1. Settings > configure settings visbility. You can search for some of the settings by typing them into the search field at the top. Cura has a TON of them. The terminology is probably different for some. I have a BIBO printer from Amazon which works great. Going to do a test print with standard PLA since the Plactive is sold out everywhere. I found only ONE anti-bacterial pla filament on amazon in stock.

    1. I totally agree – I printed a bunch of those and it’s super hard to fold it and fit correctly… Especially the chin part – this “hinge” is so thin it just breaks. Also, I have no idea how to correctly connect thechin part to the cheek parts without leaving huge gaps. Went to thrash.

      1. You’ve got to keep the mask warm and flexible the entire time. If the plastic turns white while bending, stop and add heat. If it doesn’t feel like you’re flopping a steaming hot tortilla on your face (it’s gonna sting for a couple seconds), you’re not going to get it to fit correctly. Also, I found it best to be looking straight at the floor when fitting the hot mask. The chin piece goes inside and the wings will match the contour of the cheeks. The first couple I tried left gaping holes, as you described, but I finally got it to fold tight. It’ll still need to be sealed though, and I used CA glue. Keep trying until you master it with cheaper materials before wasting the expensive antimicrobial stuff. I used a space heater to provide the heat, because you’ll need to heat large areas evenly, and it frees up a hand. After you get the basic shape, you can make smaller area adjustments. When you get it to a good point, hold it to your face with light pressure, cover the intake and exhale. Address each leak one by one. It took me about an hour and a half to get mine at a point where I really have to exhale hard before it lets loose.

        Keep at it, this is certainly a new skill most of us have never needed to develop.

  2. I am printing it now in TPU, will see how it turns out, I have 5 printers so could make many for the people around me.

        1. Hell at this point plain PLA is good enough for single use. More than they have now

  3. FYI – Having just spent an hour watching live presentation from Dr. Eric Rassmussen on Covid-19, two things to know in regards to this:
    1. Covid-19 can live on plastic for up to 3 days.
    2. It has also been shown to live on copper more than 24 hours and copper in its case is NOT anti-viral. It is antibacterial and that’s not the same.

    You should be cautious now that we know more as of today 3-18-20

    1. But isn’t the good thing about this, that you can wash and disinfect them? They can be used many times that way.

    2. “None of the designs available right now have been tested to ensure they provide the protections needed, at least none of the ones I am aware of. To help with this, we have collected as many designs as we could find, and are working with experts to see if we can verify which ones really work. What are the key focus points? First, it’s the sealing, then the filter itself, the filter to the mask, and how the mask attaches to the face – it all must be perfect. Most of us print rigid materials that are hard to make compliant for seals. Even if we can get a good seal, will it remain functional e.g. even when the wearer talks?

      Another question we need to take into account is the porosity of the printed parts and the safety concerns that come from that. The wearer will have the mask on their face, a humid and warm place, a perfect breeding ground for germs. We won’t be able to sterilize these masks effectively so we might be causing even more problems. And the virus reportedly survives for over 48 hours on the plastics (or even 90 hours, according to some other studies). We all want to help our friends and families which means we should be all the more precautious to keep from hurting them. If you absolutely insist on printing a mask now, treat it like it is a basic surgical mask and not as a true respirator with all the protections they provide. A false sense of security can be very dangerous. I understand you’re trying to help, but PLEASE spread this info into your 3D printing groups.”

      – Joseph Prusa, Founder Prusa3D Printers and Research, on 3/18/20
      Full article: https://blog.prusaprinters.org/from-design-to-mass-3d-printing-of-medical-shields-in-three-days/

    3. I read the same re: Copper. Over and over. The virus lives on copper for a Very long time.

  4. I just printed this mask and while it might look good, it has way too many gaps. I used a heat gun to shape it. The biggest problem is a huge gap between your face and the mask at the top on each side of your nose. I’m printing masks for a friend of mine that’s desperate for some but I’m using a different file that has a much better fit.

      1. I have 5 printers where i can send mask and do we get mattwrial price returned… Dot understands me wrong but i also lose my job whem my pla is op i cant afford to buy more

  5. Very interesting – finding filter medium MAY be easier than masks at this point vs trying to print that

  6. Daniel Martinez, Hi
    You suggest PLACTIVE but it is impossible to buy this filament given the state of things due to “covid 19”, the closed borders and the breakdown of the distribution chains in the world. So no PLACTIVE.
    I’m from Romania, Europe by the way and here, now, there’s no surgical masks, no rubbing alcohol, no disinfectant, nothing to buy.
    Looks like everything is made in China and the whole world will simply stop if China cannot deliver.
    The planet itself has lost the ability to manufacture anything and relies exclusively on China.
    If this mask is not efficient unless it is printed from PLACTIVE then there is nothing to do.
    You also said in the article that I quote “3D printing takes time, for example, one of these masks takes around 2:00 hrs”, so if you know that it takes around 2 hrs then I think you have the settings for the print, if you do can you be so kind to let us know what those settings are?
    About the filter part what can you tell us? What diameter the filter should be and made of what. People think about makeup pads but you might know better, so tell us plese.
    Thank you in advance and stay healthy.

  7. I tried with ABS, as it’r more rigid. Clean it, try to wear it. No can do. ABS is failure. I’ll try with FiberFlex 40D now. Hope, with gluegun it could be useful.

  8. The polish friend Leszek comented above “The terrible shit can’t be folded, a waste of time to print” and I think he printed the mask in PLA witch is stiff and brittle , so what’s the catch?
    Did anybody else printed the mask in PLA ? Does it fold or not ? We can not waste time and filament that cannot be replaced at this time.
    PLA is not watertight, it has gaps ,that we allready know. The VIRUS is 0.1 microns. 1 micron is 0.001 of a milimeter. Then the VIRUS is 0.0001 mm.
    That make me think that the filter is useless because the VIRUS can pass thru the mask, so what’s the point.
    Another friend here Andera Retel,just said “I just printed this mask and while it might look good, it has way too many gaps. I used a heat gun to shape it”
    Everyone wants to think it’s protected as much as possible , that helps at the state of mind but we may put ourselfes in the way of harm thinking that we are protected when we are not.
    I’m not a troll or a hater if that you may think but let’s keep it real people.
    Stay healthy wherever you are.

    1. Finally, someone that makes sense.

      It’s good that everybody tries to help, but please don’t get the feeling that this is even remotely protecting you.

      Don’t meet new people. Stay inside. Fast forward 2 months.

    2. Even surgical mask can’t protect us from virus. Anyway, corona is not airborne, we use face mask prevent droplets from sneeze & cough.

    3. It’s maybe not a terrible idea. The design however is terrible. I printed it and It doesn’t fit to your face and seal in any way. They sure gathered a lot of press, but they obviously never tried it on an actual human.

      The fact that PLA prints are porous is way less of a concern. I’ve been using PLA prints for years on speaker boxes, and they are very air-tight (because I specifically test for air-tightness with probably the world’s best loudspeaker-box-seal-tester). The air will follow the path of least resistance, not micron-scale gaps in the PLA, it’ll either flow through the filter media, or in this design, 100% of air leaks around the mask because it doesn’t seal to your face even slightly.

      Additionally, the design is such that the clamp that holds the filter in place restricts airflow unnecessarily. Just a poorly executed design all around.

      However, I am considering improving it to make it actually work. I’ll post back if I get a working design.

      1. Just because you can’t get it to work doesn’t mean it’s a terrible design. It took many failed attempts before getting it to mold to faces, but we got it to work nonetheless. Bypass air is minimal, or to a point where it can’t be felt. Nothing is guaranteed or 100%. If you want that level of protection, you’re looking at level A PPE. This is a 3D printed mask that was turned out in a very short time to help face a global crisis. You won’t pull it out of a box and slap on your your face like a commercial product.

        It’s tough to admit, but the problem might be your comprehension of the product, and not the design. You might try standing up and giving props to people who are trying to make a difference rather than criticizing it because you couldn’t figure it out.

  9. I am wondering if to save on time and materials, what about printing the respirator part and then sow into a fabric mask?

    1. YES! That’s exactly what I was thinking too! It’ll work much better. Cut the mask out of very dense, heavy fabric so very little air can leak through the fabric. Then use E6000 to glue the respirator part on. It’ll be WAY Better.

    1. Puedes usar una parte circular recortada de las mascarillas convencionales o utulizar discos de algodón desmaquilladores.

  10. Ya. Click bait. They’re just trying to sell their filament. The mask is not certified. I doubt this will work. No way are you getting a good seal on it.

  11. This seems somewhat suspicious that the company is suggesting we print using their material only. PLACTIVE – $96 a roll on Amazon – sold by the company pushing this effort? Seems disingenuous. I would like to believe that this is not the case…

  12. I don’t have copper filament.
    Can I print in regular PLA and wrap it in copper tape?
    The kind used for EM shielding

  13. can this be printed on a resin printer like the Anycubic Photon S? if so, I wonder if there is any resin that would be ideal for this job

  14. Have these masks gone through any performance testing to verify that it is supposed to work as well as a N95 mask that healthcare workers typically use?

  15. what a waste of fucking time!!
    printed this, i have all the necessary hardware to make it work. i can have a usable decent seal on the face by using neoprene foam on the perimeter. however if you use any kind of decent filter material, you will have a hard time sucking air through it. the diameter and the surface area is just too small.
    this was only a marketing opportunity for the copper 3d guys. crap design.

  16. Some requests for settings – heres what I used :
    1. You need a printer that has a 9″x5″ bed. The flat mask is quite large.
    2. The suggested microbial filament is out of stock.Its not necessary for this device’s use. I printed it using regular PLA with slicing setting for high quality (the filter has a small mesh) slow speed and at 210 nozzle temp, 60 bed temp, fan cooling ON (FFCP).
    3. After printing the flat mask you have to heat it and form it into your custom face shape. The instructions say a hairdryer or hot water will do, I used a heat gun and had some troublegetting a nice/correct shape.
    4. I dont see any way around having to glue the edges and top to make a seal. It wont be as pretty as the model. Mine will need a rubber gasket of some sort to seal around the face. I dont know what filter will let enough air through as well as catch the 1micron virus. The instructions say a make-up sponge. IDK.
    Overall this probably could be made by small business community with access to the printers, materials and a skilled workforce. The home user might make a few of them for family use, but not alot of them in any short period of time.

  17. Well I was on two Qidi 3d Printer groups on Facebook and posted the links to this article and while it got a couple of likes and someone replied to be helpful two others said it was just PLA but I point out the Copper element in it.
    I then got abuse that copper does not work and there would be voids etc so pointless.
    I was then accused of trying to make money from this which all I was trying to do was help and they said please stop the BS as it’s not helping (one of them was a scientist in the health area..
    I felt so discussed and have left both groups.
    So, Is it just BS and the filament does not work then. Please advise… there is enough fake news out there and we do not need it for tackling the serious situation in the world!

  18. This is a nice idea, worth developing further. However, I do not see it as very practical right now. A sewn cloth mask will be more reliable and many more can be made in the same amount of time.

    I have several 3d printers, lathe, CNC mill, 180W laser and other fancy tools and decades of CAD experience. Right now I think the best tools for meeting mask related needs is a sewing machine and scissors.

  19. ok, where is the peer reviewed evidence that supports this? what is the patent number and where are those documents as proof?

    n95 certified test? fitting descriptions? fitting test in a proper test hood and aromatic test vapour?

    “use a make up pad and part of a real mask” as a filter?

    this is just click bait.

  20. Hello all, thank you for all your comments, good and bad (pro and con). All of these are needed to help iterate/revise various possible solutions to this shortage problem. My current incentive is helping family/friends who work in emergency rooms experiencing these Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortages. Even though this initial design proposed by Copper3D may seem like a gimmick or self advertising to sell their product, I do believe it’s a good starting point for this problem. Feedback from my family/friends is that they would like something that can be wiped down as the move from room to room. So some wort of plastic/polymer mask is ideal for this. I also agree that there may be some gaps and fitting this mask may be challenging, and for this I’m currently looking at adding a “cloth” mask on the inside of this mask. It would be great if Copper3D could make their filament more accessible and reduce their price, in true partnership with these trying times. I personally have order some of this quite expensive filament in hopes to produce the best possible product for my family. I will be happy to post once I have complete product. Please keep up the constructive conversation and comments. Thanks again!

  21. So far, I have made a number of these in PLA: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4232636
    Facilities here are willing to take anything type of prevention from the emails received because some resources remain non existent for PPE due to high demand.
    My current setup contains a silicone dip around the perimeter of the mask to soften contact with the skin and assist with sealing. I have also gotten adhesive back thin foam strips and added them to the interior perimeter as cushion. The mask is also sprayed with an alkyd primer. I am currently using PTFE disks for the one-way valve during exhaling. The surface contact area within the inner chamber of this valve is also coated with a thin layer of silicone to prevent pre-filtered air from entering the chamber. I would recommend a tighter tolerance for this valve so degassing of the user is a little smoother. So far, I have gotten great results with this device and I have tried printing many before this one.
    I hope this helps!

  22. Beautiful designed but WILL NOT work in real life scenario unless you have a commercial high end printer. Designed is flawed. It will not survive with only 1 layer of plastic. the valve will not attach well and break when you fold.

  23. Great Initiative by these companies. 3d printing industry is doing an amazing job in this pandemic situation. Zeal 3D Printing is producing 3d printed masks, face shields to protect people for coronavirus. We would also like to contribute from our side, you can contact us at info@zeal3dprinting.com.au

Back to top button

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • PHPSESSID
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services
Close
Close

STAY AHEAD

OF THE CURVE

Join industry leaders and receive the latest insights on what really matters in AM!

This information will never be shared with 3rd parties

I’ve read and accept the privacy policy.*

WELCOME ON BOARD!