Copper3D has recently released the files for their reusable PPE mask as part of the Open Source movement against the Chrona virus. COVID 19 has created a critical shortage of PPE for civilians and medical personal, and 3D printers and designers have put their time at home to good use.
Among the PPE items, mask have been the most in demand. The gold standard N95 mask are now kept under guard at hospitals, and worldwide there is a shortage. Many people are starting to sew their own mask, anticipating that hospitals may need the donations.
Copper3D designed their mask to be printed with their copper infused PLA filaments. Copper is known to have antimicrobial property’s, and their filaments have been used in medical applications.
However as of this writing their website is swamped, and it’s doubtful you could order any filament soon from Chile.
(Video 1st mask)
I printed Copper3D’s mask (link stl) with NinjaFlex TPU filament. TPU is a soft material that would be form fitting, air tight and comfortable for long term use.
After printing the mask and just trying a rough fit, I noticed a problem with the design. Just putting the honecomb spacer in it, the breath-ability was about what I was comfortable with sitting down. If I had been active and walking around, I would have a hard time breathing with this mask.
Printing in TPU may have seemed like a good idea, and I may make a flange for a mask latter with it. However, TPU is not the best material for the body of the mask. It’s just too flexible, and you would have to get it to form to your face and hold it’s shape.
So I’ll keep the TPU mask for some experiments, but not use it personally.
While this PLA is not microbial, I hope I can just sterilize it in bleach or Lysol when I need to reuse it.
The issue has always been the filter medium. The specialized polypropylene non-woven N95 media is made with a specialized machine under sterile conditions. Factories are not tooled up with the specialized machines to make the filter material. (link)
As a result 2D universe also showed how you can improvise your own filter media with non-woven polypropiline grocery bags and cotton makeup pads.
Assembling the 3D Universe Mask
After printing the parts, you