Custom-made 3D-printed face masks in case of pandemic crisis situations with a lack of commercially available FFP2/3 masks

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In the case of pandemic crisis situations, a crucial lack of protective material such as protective face masks for healthcare professionals can occur. A proof of concept (PoC) and prototype are presented, demonstrating a reusable custom-made three-dimensionally (3D) printed face mask based on materials and techniques (3D imaging and 3D printing) with global availability. The individualized 3D protective face mask consists of two 3D-printed reusable polyamide composite components (a face mask and a filter membrane support) and two disposable components (a head fixation band and a filter membrane). Computer-aided design (CAD) was used to produce the reusable components of the 3D face mask based on individual facial scans, which were acquired using a new-generation smartphone with two cameras and a face scanning application. 3D modelling can easily be done by CAD designers worldwide with free download software. The disposable non-woven melt-blown filter membrane is globally available from industrial manufacturers producing FFP2/3 protective masks for painting, construction, agriculture, and the textile industry. Easily available Velcro fasteners were used as a disposable head fixation band. A cleaning and disinfection protocol is proposed. Leakage and virological testing of the reusable components of the 3D face mask, following one or several disinfection cycles, has not yet been performed and is essential prior to its use in real-life situations. This PoC should allow the reader to consider making and/or virologically testing the described custom-made 3D-printed face masks worldwide. The surface tessellation language (STL) format of the original virtual templates of the two reusable components described in this paper can be downloaded free of charge using the hyperlink (Supplementary Material online).




Swennen, G. R. J., Pottel, L., & Haers, P. E. (2020). Custom-made 3D-printed face masks in case of pandemic crisis situations with a lack of commercially available FFP2/3 masks. International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 49(5), 673–677.

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