Preprint / Version 1

Potential Risks of a Widespread Use of 3D Printing for the Manufacturing of Face Masks during the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic




Background In 2020 the SARS-CoV-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 and 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 to 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.


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