A few days ago Copper 3D – a Chilean manufacturer of antibacterial filaments, released its own patent-pending version of the popular N95 mask called NanoHack, designed and optimized for 3D printing on amateur and hobby 3D printers. The model was made available for free download under an open-source license and the company launched the #HackThePandemic campaign, during which it propagated its mask and the DIY concept of creating medical aid accessories.

During first days of the campaign, the global 3D printing community reacted with enormous enthusiasm. Interest in the model was so great that on the second day of the action the servers on which the Copper 3D website was maintained could not withstand traffic and with over 500 users per minute – temporarily shutdown. At the same time, people 3D printed masks massively and began to raise several doubts about the design and method of assembly. There were a lot of questions about the filament grade – theoretically the best solution would be to use Copper 3D anti-bacterial Active PLA, but the design was ment to be universal and work with every filament available on the market.

Another doubt was the concept of the printed mask itself – everyone quite quickly “discovered” the obvious fact – the mask itself is useless without a filter, and their availability is the biggest problem. In other words – it’s just a half-measure and not necessarily the most important in the entire chain of health protection against the spread of coronavirus.

Copper 3D has published an official statement on this matter:

More and more initiatives began to appear in the world aimed at using additive technologies to create solutions to help treat coronavirus victims or prevent the spread of COVID-19. We covered all the most important of them:

The design of the door handle by Belgian Materialise and the protective mask by Josef Průša proved to be as easy to print as effective in fighting a pandemic. Nevertheless, the popularity of the NanoHack mask did not weaken and more and more people downloaded it. Unfortunately after they 3D printed it, they repeated the same concerns mentioned above.

Today Naomi “Sexy Cyborg” Wu – the YouTube celebrity, known for her barely dressed 3D printing and digital fabrication videos, posted short rant on Twitter, where she called Copper 3D effort “scam” and insinuated that the whole #HackThePandemic action serves only to promote their filaments (which she calls “magic unicorn”).

Naomi Wu is as fascinating as controversial figure. It cannot be denied that the initial source of her enormous Internet popularity was the insistent exposure of her body, which combined with the technical and DIY themes of her videos, made her quite original and unique. At the same time, her films are have great educational value and are very professionally edited. In the field of 3D printing and broadly defined digital fabrication, Naomi Wu can be seen as an expert – she has been running her channel on YouTube for many years and the vast majority of her subscribers watch it for the presented content, not image. She calls herself “China’s #1 Tech & DIY YouTuber” – if it’s true, the title is well deserved.

However calling Copper 3D “scammers” is a bold statement. I do not deny Naomi Wu the right to criticize this or that company, however, great popularity lies with great responsibility – including published words. Those who judge others can be judged themselves – it is even easier if they publish reports from their lives on an ongoing basis.

Anyway, Copper 3D published another statement (it wasn’t necessarily related to Naomi’s twitt…):

If for some reason you do not know who Naomi Wu is – you will find information about her in the article below. Please note, that this is not the first time she is caught up in a controversial situation.

Paweł Ślusarczyk
CEO of 3D Printing Center. Has over 15 years' experience in buisiness, gained in IT, advertising and polygraphy. Part of 3D printing industry since 2013.

17 Comments

  1. Have printed this one, actually it is not working properly. There was no problem for bend it using hot gun. But result is not like on the picture. The mask is way to small and will have a lot of holes on top and bottom, because of that you will be breathing from the holes not from the filter.

  2. Sexist much? What she looks like has zero to do with this. You could have said that there has been controversy with how she looks and left it at that, but no. You state her breasts are oversized and pornographic, as if that’s fact. You say she has a cartoonish appearance. These are your personal opinions, and add absolutely nothing to the “article”. See what I did there with the quotes? Same thing you did with “scam” which is commonly used to be ironic or mocking. Removing all of the extraneous “information” you added leaves little left in the article when you could actually spend the time to dig into her complaints.

    1. Thank you for the comment. For the sake of our readers’ comfort the fragments you mentioned have been removed.

  3. I’m deeply disgusted by the amount of time you used just to describe her body with the obvious intention to make your readers doubt her intelligence and abilities.
    This is a page about 3D PRINTING , NOT about GOSSIP and, especially in this day and age, you should analyze how you describe women when you write about them. Is pretty obvious to me that you care more about how she looks and how much of her body she shows than her actual knowledge, abilities and the content she creates.

    It worries me a lot that the people that read your articles might think that this is an appropriate way to describe and talk about women. And from your previous responses to other comments is clear that you’re not gonna recognize that as a mistake but i just hope all the other men can see that this is NOT RIGHT

    1. Thank you very much for your comment. To meet your suggestions, the article has been modified accordingly. I believe that this improved form will meet your expectations?

  4. Anyone who knows Naomi Wu knows that she wouldn’t say something that she didn’t have some degree of knowledge about. She’s not just a pretty face! She’s an innovator, who is constantly trying to adopt and adapt new technologies with different aspects of our daily lives.

    She has intimate experience in testing 3D printers; and can offer serious feedback on the subject of printing with various materials.

    As for her character, she’s an incredibly selfless individual, who has gone out of her way to help people; and she hasn’t profited from it at all. In one case, it ended up costing her additional time and effort to take remedial action, as the result of a last-minute decision made by the charity she was trying to help.

    I would need her advice; and double-check the claims made by the vendor. If she says It’s a scam, the chances are that she’s right. At the very least, this is not something that should be brushed off lightly. If what she says is true, the balance of untold lives are at stake.

    1. Typo:
      That should read, “I would heed her advice…”
      Blasted spell-checker!

  5. Regardless of the cash grab or attention seeking this company might be pursuing it is a step in the right direction. I agree it’s not a perfect solution. I have printed several and had to contend with lots of post processing to conform to my face.

    That being said, I am still pushing forward with some adjustments, print material choices and have placed an order on non woven material. I have found what I think to be a reasonable solution to the end product not creating a complete seal.

    I’m not on a specific side. You don’t like the design rather than seeking to bring attention to yourself as a self proclaimed expert put your mind at work and come up with a better solution. I don’t defend or condone the company nor would I defend a self proclaimed expert. There are better more qualified 3D printing professionals that have opted to not get involved in this fiasco. Turn to those folks for their unbiased input. Not a person that is peddling a specific product line/manufacturer.

  6. I was discussing the concept for a partially 3D printed mask last week with my partner and was happy to see someone in the 3D printable community making a broad release of the files. At the time, I felt seeing one iteration made available was a good first step: it could function on the https://www.thingiverse.com model – that of allowing remixed and improvements to be made on an original design. Other DIY efforts can be seen already on Thingverse, but most focus on adapting respirators to use scavenged filter paper:
    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4224208

    Copper 3D’s design of a complete mask is novel, but it’s design and offering a specific kind of printer filament for mask production is problematic. There isn’t a commonly accepted filament that has antimicrobial properties, so presenting free 3D files alongside links to their own brand of printer filament conflates matters that should be kept separate. It’s the melding of the two concepts from the same unverified source that creates an sense of impropriety here that Naomi Wu was riffing on.

    There’s issues with both this article and Copper 3D’s presentation of their files, but I’m glad the post’s author took the time to curate what happened on Twitter.

    👙Bikini’s aside, I would advocate the remixing of mask pieces by changing the design approach – a snap-together mask works for Halloween, but requires very specific adjustment/customization per user to be effective in a medical situation.

    There is also significant debate online about the effectiveness of mask use in general – see a primer here: https://www.businessinsider.com/wuhan-coronavirus-face-masks-not-entirely-effective-2020-1

    Effectively, anything you put over your mouth and nose acts as a filter, but on a sliding scale. That’s based on the density of the matter, and there’s a range: from a scarf, to surgical mask , to sawdust-filter masks, up to the N95s and respirators with removable cartridges. Something is better than nothing, but what makes one better than the next are
    a)an ability to seal the mask against the face,
    b)how the air is channeled
    c)possibility of extended or reuse

    Copper 3D’s initial designs can’t seal against the face, as an inner flexible material is needed to form a seal and can’t be 3D printed by usual methods.

    Most fabric filter masks can easily conform using the metal nose bridge, but can’t seal without a secondary inner layer – it’s why the N95 was recommended by the WHO:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/respirator-use-faq.html

    Copper 3D’s designs are a step in the right direction, as having a plastic surface that can be wiped down and disinfected could allow for extended or reuse. However, it might be more effective to create a 2D inner gasket pattern based on the N95’s that can be cut and mounted between the skin and a plastic shell.

    The ‘sizing’ of a mask can’t be bespoke when the mask needs to fit anyone with minimal fuss. That means a hybrid of different designs may be best. A fabric ear loop mask could have a gasket attached. The majority of the surface design could be adapted from Copper 3D’s “Mortal Combat” style mask, but with a separation at the nose to act as a fabric hinge. The majority of the surface would be easily cleanable plastic with the L and R respirator valves to channel the air.

    Filtration is an issue, but HEPA filters (like those made by Bionaire and sold for small scale appliance air filtration) could be repurposed. I sourced one locally for use on my PHOTON S resin printer’s exhaust – similar 0.3 to 0.1 filters could be cut up and used inside 3D printed mask respirator valves.

    The scale of most allergic filters are 0.3 microns – which is the same rating as N95 masks. Corona Virus is said to be 0.5 to 0.2 microns in diameter, making a 0.3 filtration level half way effective.

    It’s my understanding that the more barriers (resolution of filtration, lack of porous surface area) there are, the less viral particles a mask wearer could potentially inhale – making the for fewer viral particles for the host’s immune system to combat.

    No system is 100% effective for walking through a hypothetical cloud of someone’s viral cough, but the more impediments that can be placed between that and ones nose/mouth the better.

    Hopefully the global design community can come together and create a pattern & model item that transcends capitalist desire for profit & patents: one that can help save lives.

  7. I’ve been a big fan of Naomi for years. She’s been a great example of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Does it actually matter what she looks like? Yeah, she’s shown skin. You have skin too. Everyone has skin. She’s “controversial” only because people are shallow and can’t see past the ‘oversized, silicone, pornographic breasts’. Morals are not tied to looks. At the end of the day she’s human like everyone else. Or at least half human, given the whole cyborg thing.

    Considering all that she’s done for the 3D printing community, I think her voice has great power, and deservedly so. I’m on her side, people are being blinded by fear and are quick to grab onto whatever feels like a way to return to normalcy, and this company is taking advantage of that to boost their own sales. Instead of arguing like children, Copper3D should reach out to Naomi, who clearly knows her stuff, and work together to produce something that can actually make a difference instead of giving people a false sense of security. Now is not the time to be pointing fingers and fighting.

  8. I agree with the other commenters: very ad-hominem attacks in response to legitimate criticism. She may have, uh, notable body propotions, but she knows her stuff. Extremely immature to spend much more of the article dwelling on her public persona rather than actually addressing and discounting these valid concerns. It makes you look bad! Try again with either actual scientific rebuttal or admit graceful defeat and move on to one of your more useful 3D printed devices.

  9. You seem to care more about expressing your views on the morality of Naomi Wu’s choice of clothing, videos, and general appearance than you do the morality of a company releasing a product that is potentially going to cause actual physical harm and/or death. This isn’t comparable to Prusa or the Valve in Italy. Both the Valve and Prusa took the projects to full working products that could be validated in the field even if it couldn’t be certified in a lab. Masks require certification, fit testing and quality controls specifically because they already are a last-resort device because the first resort is to avoid the contamination altogether.

    The “it’s better than nothing” stance Copper 3D is taking is absolutely wrong. The fact that you say multiple people agree with Naomi and then go on to degrade and insult her is laughable and makes you look extremely incompetent and unprofessional. This device is DANGEROUS to people that don’t understand how masks are supposed to work. There are many points of failure on such an unproven thing and quite literally anyone at this point could release a mask and say “it’s better than nothing” and then go on a marketing campaign. Which makes the effort disingenuous (verging on a scam) when someone ends up sick or dead because they took risks they otherwise wouldn’t have taken from the feeling of safety provided to them by a mask that for all anyone knows is useless.

    Either this mask is proven to work or it’s not and it’s simple as that. As it’s currently unproven and mask production is nearing 1.5 billion per year maybe instead Copper 3D should stop trying to defend this move and instead find another device to assist people in this time that can be proven in a field or proven simply in its creation.

    The position you’ve chosen in this article and the abhorrent ways in which you have chosen to describe another person (which doesn’t appear to be the first time you’ve done so) and your blatant defense of Copper 3D look really bad on you.

    1. First of all – we didn’t ban your comment. As long as there is no personal insult or anything against the law in them, we believe people have right to give their opinions to ours. We are not affraid of harsh words – after 8 years of doing this business we got used to it.

      Second of all – no one died because of that masks. If someone will – we will certainly write about it. Perhaps you should come back then and post that you were right…?

      Third of all – I don’t defend Copper 3D or any other entity in my article. I just reported what happened. It wasn’t my interpertation of anyone’s words – just attached social media posts.

      Fourthly – Naomi Wu feel free to accuse someone for being a fraud (that is what I understand by calling someone’s actions “scam”). I respect that – that is her right to do so, unless the court says otherwise. But at the same time I use my right to address her – as you mentioned – “morality”. I think we are both justified in this respect.

    2. I agree with Wu that it does not appear to be a very good fitting mask. The sealing around the edges along the skin are critical. Most masks provide this with flexible material or even foam edges. Honestly, I could sew a better mask much faster. Even creating seams with hot melt glue would seem a better option. I’m also not all that sure about the usefulness of copper impregnated materials.

      The more practical 3D PPE devices I’ve seen are face shields.

    3. For a lot of viewers, this is their first time coming to 3D printing because they’re looking for covid 19 information. Giving background information about Naomi is prudent so as to put into context why her opinion might even matter.

      It might be difficult for other commenters/simps/white-knights to detach the main point of the article from their biases, but she has said she doesn’t care much for it since she receives hate for it daily.

  10. The statement from Copper3d is not loading at the moment. Thank you.

    1. Seems fine – perhaps a temporary problem? They both load perfectly.
      We have printscreens of them anyway…

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