Jan 23, 2018 | By Tess

3D designer Bartlomiej Gaczorek has teamed up with Polish 3D printer company Sinterit to design and 3D print anti-pollution masks for children. The masks, named “brifo,” are intended to protect children from breathing in pollution in big cities or while exposed to activities like painting or polishing.

This is not the first time that Gaczorek has collaborated with Sinterit, as the two partnered up last year to design and 3D print an exoskeleton arm for children suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

Their latest project certainly shows their shared dedication to producing 3D printed products and devices geared towards helping children.

The “brifo” mask project was inspired by the apparent lack of anti-pollution masks available for children. And, as the 3D designer emphasizes, designing the mask was not quite as simple as rescaling existing adult masks.

The top priority was to design a pollution filtering mask which was both lightweight and comfortable for a child to wear. Gaczorek also wanted to make the mask as durable as possible to account for a child’s active and accident-prone activities. Finally, it had to look cool.

In designing the mask, Gaczorek used Autodesk’s Netfabb software to integrate a strong internal lattice geometry which could provide strength to the mask but also cut back on its overall weight. The software was also used to prep the mask file for 3D printing.

“My common workflow, from idea to prototype, comes through CAD design, exporting, hollowing, infilling, and nesting inside the printer’s build volume,” explained Gaczorek. “Until now I had to use different software for almost every operation. Repeated imports and exports are not only frustrating, but could corrupt the final output file.”

When it came time to 3D print the anti-pollution mask, Gaczorek used the Sinterit Lisa 3D printer, which is based on selective laser sintering (SLS) technology. Unlike FDM 3D printing, SLS printers use a laser system that sinters polymer-based powders to build up objects. This method, which is generally more expensive than FDM printing, can achieve higher precision parts.

Using a combination of PA12 nylon (for hard components) and TPU (for the mask’s flexible parts), the designer was able to exploit Sinterit’s 3D printing technology not only for prototyping purposes but to create the final product.

The 3D printed parts did have to undergo some post-processing treatments and were painted in a bright color to appeal more to children. The final product is described as a “a neo-futuristic dust mask” which comprises of a hard plastic filter and a flexible and adjustable face attachment.

Admittedly, the anti-pollution mask does bear some resemblance to Bane’s face mask in The Dark Knight Rises, but hey, some kids might find that cool!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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