Customised design and manufacture of protective face masks combining a practitioner-friendly modelling approach and low-cost devices for digitising and additive manufacturing

This project analyses the viability of an efficient modelling approach using a semi-automatic algorithm within a Computer Aided Design (CAD) application in combination with low-cost digitising devices and low-cost Additive Manufacturing (AM) printers when designing and manufacturing patient-specific face masks. The aims of the study were to enable clinical practitioners to utilise the advantages of three-dimensional (3D) scanning, CAD and AM without having to be trained to use design/engineering software. Face features were captured using two 3D devices. The resulting meshes were compared via the Hausdorff Distance method. A semi-automatic modelling procedure was developed with ‘Rhinoceros’ and ‘Grasshopper’ to model the face mask and customise several features. With that procedure, volunteers modelled a face mask in less than 30 minutes in their first attempt. The resulting virtual mask was manufactured with two AM printers. An initial economic study indicated that the presented approach offers a feasible alternative to the current practices.