IDSA Member's ID Firm Is 3D-Printing Masks to Fight COVID-19

by Russ Henning, IDSA

Apr 13 2020 - 8:20pm


A few days ago, I reached out to my good friend and colleague Dominic Peralta, IDSA, founder of stellar ★ design, to see how his firm was doing in this difficult time. What I learned is inspiring. 

Stellar ★ design is 3D-printing reusable N95 masks, which are desperately needed by health workers around the world. There are simply not enough of these masks, so each one counts. Most of us ID professionals have access to a 3D printer, so let’s all follow Dom’s example and help make a difference!

From Dominic:

“In times like these, our actions define us. Our industrial design community has a unique ability to step up and help stop the curve of COVID-19. 

While sheltering in place, I decided we should pivot our client work to join in the efforts I had seen happening in Italy. 3D printing was being used to modify a scuba mask into a quick ventilator solution to help save lives. 

We connected first with The Billings Clinic in Montana to assist with 3D-printing reusable N95 masks for their front-line medical teams, not only in their clinic but all throughout the state of Montana.  

We currently have all of our printers running 24/7 in an effort to provide them with as many units as possible. In parallel, we'll begin prototype tests on a 3D-printed mold to cast part of the mask out of silicone, helping to increase the daily output x10.

Through this initial effort, we have been in touch with several other similar efforts here in California, at Stanford University and two Southern California medical care groups. At Stanford, they are focusing on creating parts for modified ventilators, using a combination of 3D-printed parts and off-the-shelf scuba gear.

We all need to pitch in, in any way we can, and the time is now to join the fight. Whether it is in your city, state, out of state or even for another country, our industrial design community needs to step up and stop the spread of COVID-19. Fight the good fight!”

— Dominic Peralta, IDSA
Founder, Industrial Designer at stellar ★ design

If you were inspired by this as I was, email Dominic to learn how you too can help contribute. To start 3D printing masks right away, download the STL files here

Update from Dominic on the Stanford project:

"While reading about the inspiring project that Issinova and Decathlon in Italy were beginning to work on, converting a scuba mask into a ventilator, a story came across my LinkedIn feed about a similar project starting at a Stanford University lab. I reached out to Manu Prakash from the Prakash Lab at Stanford to see how I could help. He was forming a team of contributors in all aspects of the project, and we volunteered to help with design, 3D CAD, manufacturing, prototyping, supply chain and preparation for FDA documentation. We joined the Prakash Lab COVID-19 Response Group to develop an open-source solution and quickly got to work!

Each day we worked around the clock to sketch out, model, prototype, and test solutions that fit a wide range of needs. In parallel, the amazing team that Manu was running worked in all directions to find the most information as possible and loop it back into the fold while we developed solutions. Laurel Kroo, a PhD candidate at the Prakash Lab, originated the idea and has lead the charge on making this idea a reality.

Our team maintains a constant dialogue through Slack, which we've used as a platform to share information about supply chain, quantities, materials, filters, clinical feedback, brainstorm/concept ideation, CAD, 3D-printed prototypes, communications with manufacturing partners and, ultimately, the FDA submission.

We have an initial solution, and Boston Scientific is quickly ramping up production to meet this emergency need. With that platform solution established, a new foundation has been created to build an open-source network of solutions based on critical need. We are in iterative mode now, generating many ideas and solutions that can be used as a kit. There is still much work to do, but we feel so fortunate to be a part of the team that the Prakash Lab created! Want to say the most heartfelt thank you to Manu Prakash and Laurel Kroo—you're both an inspiration to us and we are very grateful to work alongside you!" 

For more information, view the Google Doc for the Stanford project here. Follow Dominic and stellar ★ design for daily updates on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Russ Henning, IDSA is Chair of IDSA San Jose