With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, many companies have joined the fight to stop the deadly virus by creating and producing various types of medical supplies and healthcare solutions. Clothing companies began to sew aprons and protective N95 masks, chemical companies produced antibacterial gels, public and private universities and research centers started projects to create solutions that would help in a simple and quick way to study and prevent the disease.
Companies from the 3D printing industry have also taken on this challenge by successively presenting projects that are easy and quick to implement, increasing protection and safety of people. Until now, we have described examples of cooperation between The FabLab in Milan and Isinnova, who created the missing valves for an intensive care device for the Italian hospital in Brescia, the Belgian Materialise, which created a simple and fast 3D printing model of a safe door opener or the Czech PRUSA Research, which has created its own antibacterial gel. Now we are presenting another design…
Copper 3D – A Chilean manufacturer of innovative antibacterial filaments designed the own version of the popular N95 protective mask and prepared it perfectly optimized for 3D printing on desktop 3D printers of the FDM / FFF type. The project is released under an open-source license and has been simultaneously patent pending to prevent other entities from commercializing it.
Seeing the problem of the global shortage of N95 masks due to the exponential increase in world demand for them due to COVID-19 pandemic, Copper 3D team quickly got to work on developing the patent for a model similar to a standard N95 mask but with some peculiarities (Antiviral, Reusable, Modular, Washable, Recyclable, Low-Cost), which were completely designed in a digital environment so that it could be downloaded anywhere in the world and 3D printed with any FDM/FFF equipment, even a low cost one. The mask was called “NanoHack”.
Daniel Martínez – Director of Innovation at Copper 3D comments:
Now the challenge was purely logistical because there was a breakdown of the distribution chains in the world. On the other hand, 3D printing takes time, for example one of these masks takes around 2:00 hrs. to print what forced us to think collaboratively based on the concept of Distributed Manufacturing and networks of 3D printers working 24/7 in order to make a big amount of masks in a short time.
That’s when we decided that we should coordinate a worldwide network of startups, makers, universities and partner companies that will help us to print these masks, in order to quickly amplify access to this design and make it really have a global impact. And that’s exactly what we did: Hack this pandemic with Nanotechnology, 3D Printing, Distributed Manufacturing and Networks of Collaboration with many organizations and people around the world.
Additionally, we decided to immediately release the patent (which was filed and pending) so that this design would be completely Open Source. This is probably the first case in the history of 3D printing that the same design is downloaded massively worldwide to prevent more deaths in the context of a pandemic.
Copper 3D launched website dedicated to this project: www.copper3d.com/hackthepandemic
There you can find out all the technical details of the N95 mask and download set of STL files for printing on own 3D printer.
Claudio Soto MD – Medical Director of Copper3D, comments:
We feel that we have a great responsibility as a company and we wanted this design to be as similar as possible to a standard N95, which is what is suggested in this type of emergency with viral infections. I think the result is excellent and will be of great use to millions of people.
In these difficult times, it is now that united and collaborating each other, we can find solutions to cope with this pandemic, all together. I´m totally convinced that using our minds, ideas, innovation and technology we will find new ways to tackle this virus”.
Copper 3D is one of the most innovative companies in the 3D Printing industry worldwide. Between mid-2018 and the 1st half of 2019, they managed to raise two NASA funds to study the antimicrobial capabilities of their materials on the International Space Station (ISS).Copper 3D filament production technology is based on a patented and highly effective additive based on copper nanoparticles, transforming PLA thermoplastic into fully antibacterial nanocomposites. Most know material is PLACTIVE AN1 – a high quality PLA polymer with a 1% nanoporous additive, having “active” properties that eliminate a wide range of microorganisms. The manufacturer has also developed a medical material called NANOCLEAN – a high quality PETG anti-bacterial polymer, designed for more specific projects in the production of tools and components used in medical devices, and elastic filament with full antibacterial properties, called MDflexTM.