2020 has been the year of the mask, zoom meetings, bread baking, and tons of free time. When we do go outside we mostly wear masks of different shapes and sizes. Ranging from your N95 rated masks, to the basic cloth coverings, everyone has their own pattern and design to really express themselves while being safe.
With summer coming to a close and fall is at everyone's doorstep, there has been one thing that I have been very excited about and it is Halloween! What better way to use your extra time and 3D printer than to make your own face mask?
Below, I’ll share my story on how I 3D printed my very own COVID-19 approved face mask -- that is also great for Halloween.
Finding the CAD File
Honestly, I’m a sucker for Japanese samurai and so I first fired up GrabCAD first to look for some mask designs and typed “Samurai” into the search bar. In a way, I couldn't say I was disappointed because I found so much Samurai related content. I saw accurate and well designed katanas, nagitas, and a helmet that an engineer probably took a crack at. I even saw a samurai bot and lamp that was samurai themed.
However, I only saw a few mask models that caught my eye. I instead hopped over to our neighbor Thingiverse which has a more hobby and casual designer feel and started searching. I immediately found many figurines, pen stands, and more mask options.
I eventually ended up with this beauty by flioink who also has many other great mask designs that are worth checking out:
3D Printing My Face mask
I fired up Makerbot Print and loaded up my mask. I knew at the very least that this mask would be scaled up slightly (I have a bit of a big head) and that it needed supports. Anything I was not sure of, I referred to this FDM tutorial on GrabCAD which contains almost everything you need to know when it comes to FDM 3D printing.
130 grams of PLA and a noisy 17 hour symphony of print time later, we got a pretty spooky mask covered in supports...
PLA is not the strongest material in the FDM family so when it came to removing the supports. I just used my hands to carefully break it away leaving my mask!
Honestly I could have just stopped here and called it a day but I wanted to go the whole nine yards!
Painting My 3D Printed Face mask
The next question was how the heck do I paint this? Thankfully, GrabCAD had my back with a tutorial on how to paint FDM parts, so I grabbed my sandpaper and paint and went to town.
If it isn't obvious by the end of my mask story I really like red and black. Honestly, as soon as I sprayed the first coat of paint I wanted to wear it right there. Waiting was the hardest part and it was the longest 1 hour I’ve experienced in a while. Thankfully, sane minds prevailed and my patience held.
At this point 24 hours passed I could have just attached some elastic straps to the side and call it a day but it was a little too exposed for COVID-19 standards of safety. So I sacrificed an old cotton shirt that I didn't wear anymore.
Halloween came early and Thingiverse and GrabCAD were able to deliver on the fun!