A group of military and manufacturing experts teamed up to create a new type of face mask with a swappable filter, and it could help alleviate shortages for workers returning to their jobs
Avery HartmansMay 9, 2020, 17:21 IST
Given that the mask design is open-source, neither company is making money from mask sales. Instead, both businesses are staying afloat through other means.
The mask is now available on the National Institute of Health's 3D Print Exchange, an open-source site that has a range of vetted PPE designs anyone can use and print.
Both organizations have masks out for testing in their communities.
What makes the mask different from a traditional N95 mask is the interchangeable filter.
The group settled on a type of technology called vacuum-forming for the mask. The masks are made out of a thin, 3D-printed plastic — similar to plastic used for ketchup bottles — then heated and stretched over a mold.
The full group working on the mask has never met in person — both teams would work on a design separately, come back together to share what they created, decide on the best design, then move on to the next step. The mask went from an idea to a viable prototype in six day.
For EWI, which runs a site called Buffalo Manufacturing Works in Buffalo, New York, the decision to help with the mask shortage evolved in a matter of hours.