As the nation’s critical need for PPE escalates, DI Labs is intensely focused on innovating and testing design concepts for key items such as N95 masks. We are motivated by a desire to help but also by a concern for the safety offered by 3D printed solutions that are currently being circulated for use by our healthcare workers.
“Producing PPE that has been designed and manufactured with a focus on safety is absolutely key. Unfortunately, some of the well-meaning people out there 3D printing masks on their consumer-grade machines aren’t aware of the key considerations with that,” says Carl Douglass, Co-Founder of DI Labs.
The main safety problems driving the DI Labs approach are:
Problem: DIY 3D printed masks are typically produced on FDM machines with uncontrolled raw materials. These machines are common among 3D printing enthusiasts, but create a surface area with layered lines of plastic. Because it is rough and can be relatively porous, this type of surface cannot be properly cleaned and sanitized for safe use by healthcare workers. Furthermore, there are biocompatibility concerns with uncontrolled raw materials that can add risk to the wearer.
Solution: DI Labs uses our industrial-grade printing technology called Multi Jet Fusion with certified nylon PA12 material to achieve a smooth surface. After printing, they apply a vaporfuse finishing technology that actually seals the surface of the mask, making it washable, moisture-resistant, and sanitizable for hygienic, repeat use.
Problem: Many of the DIY 3D printing designs are basic with angular lines tailored to the FDM process that cannot meet the form of the face. They are commonly printed with a very rigid plastic material that further compromises their ability to create a proper fit.
Solution: DI Labs has custom-designed a mask with a curved, organic shape that forms to the face and has different versions for males and females. After printing, they apply an intense post-processing system to create a pliable mask flange. The result is a shaped mask that seals to the face resulting in a safe effective alternative to standard N95 masks.
DI Labs continues to innovate PPE solutions in order to elevate safety for our healthcare professionals by leveraging their powerful blend of cutting edge technologies and pushing the limits of what’s possible.