Printing flexible filaments for PPE

Christian I am looking for a printer that will work well with flexible filaments. Looking for
some suggestions. Need for better fitting face masks ( respirators ). Starting to work
on positive pressure hoods as well. Myself and engineer friend are taking on tasks.
Working with Doctors, PA’s and Nurses.
Thanks for your patience.

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How flexible are you needing? The softest material that I know of is Ninjaflex. We have some at the makerspace, but it’s quite a few years old now and I haven’t printed with it recently. The Prusa can handle it, but the others cannot. Ninjaflex is difficult for most printers. There are some less flexible TPUs that are easier to print. I think I’ve printed some TPU on all of our printers, but the Prusa would still be the best bet out of the ones we have.

In general, direct drive extruders will work better, and they need to have a very well constrained filament path. If there are any gaps in the feed path the filament will buckle and start spooling out of the side.


Everything doesn’t have to be 3D printed… is there some other manufacturing technique that would work better?

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It must be soft enough to conform to the face of the doctor, nurse, etc
for a positive seal. They will be wearing these masks for extended
periods for time. I have not used the TPUs just now doing the
research. My wife is in the health care industry for 48 years, I have
other family and relatives
that are doctor, pa’s nurses etc, This is an important thing for me
personally. My family and friends
are those on front lines. I may have a question or two in the future,
if you get a chance to respond,
I’ll thank you in advance.

On another subject. the Creality printer I was looking at had some
problems, but beyond my
ability to fix, I had no spare parts and had no way to make. I sent
David some pictures of my
visual inspection of the printer. The most concern, at least to me, was
the print head plastic
fan shield, was distorted. I checked the frame square alignment etc,
they seemed ok. I did not use
the printer after inspecting the head. I did not heat nozzle or bed
check. I just did not have the
time to check it out. I gave David the info and inspection picts. You
can talk to him if he saved
them. If you have any questions please let me know.

Tom Rice

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