Potential risks of a widespread use of 3D printing for the manufacturing of face masks during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic
Background: In 2020, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic caused serious concerns about the availability of face masks. This paper studies the technical feasibility of user-specific face mask production by 3D printing and the effectiveness of these masks.
Material & methods: Six different face mask designs were produced by 3D printing and tested by subjective experimenter evaluation and using a respirator fit testing kit. Results were compared with the requirements as given for standard protective face masks.
Results: None of the printed masks came anywhere near the required standards for personal protective gear.
Conclusion: In spite of their euphoric presentation in the press, none of the currently advertised 3D printed mask designs are suitable as reliable personal protective equipment.View the full article