With COVID-19 spreading, the state of the world has changed faster than you can change your shirt in the morning. We’ve gone from running about like productive worker bees to huddling in our house… nearly overnight. Part of me is like:

And the other part is all like:

Just about every aspect of life has changed but what’s really encouraging about all of this is when things get tough, people get busy; They turn to meet needs that are not being met and that inspires others to do what they can to help with what they’ve got. And these engineers, designers, and makers… they’ve got a lot.

Prusa Research, makers of the Original Prusa i3 MK3S and Prusa SL1 3D printers, have jumped in to help with shortages of protective face masks around the world to create one that can be easily 3D printed. They’ve worked with the Czech Ministry of Health and now have a prototype in the field for testing and verification. The Prusa facemask was inspired by a facemask model created by Gizeh Triana and posted to GrabCAD. Prusa designers iterated on that design to make it easier to print and allow more to fit on a print bed.

We took it as a starting point and decided that we would adjust it for easier and faster 3D printing – e.g. there shouldn’t be any supports required and we should fit as many of them onto a single print sheet as possible… In three days, we were able to go through dozens of prototypes, two verifications with the Czech Ministry of Health and we even met our minister of health Adam Vojtech.

Here’s a look at the Prusa version RC1:

With a 3D printing farm that houses over 500 3D printers, they are able to print 800 units per day at $1 per print and potential to print even more. The facemask is a one-piece print, made of PET, that takes approximately 5.5 hours per print at a 0.25mm layer height with no supports required.

Currently, they have two versions and are in the process of printing 10,000 of the latest RC2 version for the Czech Ministry of Health. You can download version RC2 of the facemask from the Prusa prints website.

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Author

Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.