Like much of the planet, we are “sheltering in place” at the moment. Our family reunion, in early March, now seems like a distant memory, except for the remnants of party decorations that we can’t bear to take down (Miss Havisham style). We have walks around the neighborhood and on the Springwater Trail which is wide enough to stay out of the ‘slipstream of saliva’ (my favorite new term) and Facetime connect with friends and family. Since we have worked out of a home office for years now, much of the new lifestyle is not entirely foreign to us, but the general vibe outside the house clearly feels different.
Like many others, Maren has taken to sewing masks. It’s tough to make the design decisions as there are so many contradictory dictates (don’t use vacuum filters, only use vacuum filters, use elastic, don’t use elastic…). We’ve tried the recommended tightly woven cotton quilting weight fabric and found it way too difficult to breathe through so settled on a more loosely woven cotton that is lighter weight. How effective is it? Sigh. No idea.
So I decided to explore 3D printed options. My 3D printer is a few years old and not a professional model, by any means. It does produce accurate parts though, albeit very slowly. After perusing the various mask models online, I chose one developed by a neurosurgeon in Montana. The design of the filter is clever, utilizing a small square of HEPA filter. It took 14 hours to print one mask—clearly, I won’t be going into production any time soon—but was totally worth it! It fit snugly around the edges and breathing through the filter was not difficult. And the beauty of it being solid plastic is that it can be easily washed and reused (except the HEPA filter, of course). It doesn’t come up to the standard of an N95 respirator, but functions quite well for our purposes.
As a designer and 3D artist in a time like this, I am still intrigued by the levels of interconnectedness that allow me to find a CAD model to solve a design problem and print a usable 3D solution within hours.
No one really knows what lies ahead in the coming months… or years. We’re adjusting our lives to the new normal. Bunker living is who we are now, so we take it a day at a time.
Good luck everyone. Mask up and stay safe. And keep in touch!Share this: