Living in increasingly contaminated cities, people are using protective masks more and more frequently. While there are many styles for adults, there are far fewer designed especially for children, for whom pollution is definitely more harmful. At least on a massive scale.
Designer Bartlomiej Gaczorek responded to this need by creating a mask for young children. The mask was designed from scratch and required much more ingenuity than simply rescaling ready-made masks to smaller sizes.
One of the key requirements was to create a low-weight mask. It was also important to protect the filters without increasing the volume of the mask, as children are highly mobile and have a tendency to fall. In addition, a colorful finish made the product appealing to children.
The “brifo,” a neo-futuristic dust mask for children, was created with these elements in mind. The front part resembles a bat and superheroes from fairy tales. The mask is used for respiratory protection during creative activities (painting, polishing or gluing) and for everyday wear in areas with high air pollution.
3D printing a finished product
The best tool for creating a fully functional mask was the desktop printer, Sinterit Lisa, using SLS technology. This is due to features such as the ability to print permanent, targeted elements that could be treated and painted to create a final product, not just a prototype. In addition, it has the ability to print durable components (PA12 nylon) as well as flexible ones (TPU), making it possible to print both rigid sections of the mask and an anatomically adjustable section for the face.
Autodesk Netfabb is additive manufacturing software that streamlines the workflow to quickly get from a 3D model to successfully printed parts. Not only does it streamline and speed up the preparatory process, but it allows interference in the structure of printed solids. As a result, parts can be made lighter while maintaining equal strength. Netfabb also accelerates the printing process itself.
Until now, these capabilities have been more widely available for FDM printers, where the design process facilitates the automatic creation of necessary support structures. Extending these capabilities to SLS is exciting.
A milestone in design
In the case of the “brifo,” Netfabb was used to properly prepare the design before printing. The software created internal lattices to slim-down the design with a complicated, organic structure. The latticing allowed for a lightweight model with no loss of functionality or durability. Creating a similar structure manually would be much more time-consuming (if not impossible), and would almost certainly lead to mistakes that would not be 3D printable.With very complex projects, it is virtually impossible to avoid design issues and mistakes. However, Autodesk Netfabb analyzes and detects problems, can repair meshes, and can, therefore, shorten the printing time even further.
“My common workflow, from idea to prototype, comes through CAD design, exporting, hollowing, infilling, and nesting inside the printer’s build volume,” says Bartlomiej Gaczorek. “Until now I had to use different software for almost every operation. Repeated imports and exports are not only frustrating but could corrupt the final output file.”
He added, “Thanks to Autodesk Netfabb Ultimate, I export only once from my CAD software and do all the preparation there. And this is a true industry standard 3D printing tool with many automated scripts and a huge number of state-of-the-art machines. One of them is Sinterit Lisa, a desktop SLS printer. SLS is a technology of 3D printing with almost no restrictions in the shaping of parts, perfect for organic and complex geometries and even interlocking elements.”
Time to print
Thanks to the relationship between Autodesk Netfabb and Sinterit, the designer was able to select the Sinterit Lisa printer from a list within the software and he was able to see the available workspace from the very beginning of the preparation for 3D printing. Live collision detection was also a great feature in this case.
The software also uses automatic packing to maximize use of the printing bed. The file created at the end of processing was saved in a printer-supported extension, making it possible to start printing immediately, without using additional software. This is an invaluable convenience for users who care about time.
“The most interesting thing about the Netfabb Ultimate is inside. The repairing, hollowing, and lattice infilling algorithms are simply amazing. Where other software fails, the Netfabb Ultimate does the job effortlessly. A solid piece can be hollowed and filled with crystal-like lattice structures and vents for removing unsintered powder can be added in few simple steps. This reduces the final weight and material consumption by 50 per cent as compared to a solid part. It seems Netfabb Ultimate is a perfect match for an SLS printer like Sinterit Lisa,” Gaczorek says.
Autodesk Netfabb software is available at three affordable subscription levels, which is great news for anyone from 3D printing enthusiasts to more advanced users who want to switch to more advanced, fully equipped SLS technology. Sinterit is also now making their products available at a very affordable price so that everyone has access to advanced 3D technologies.