Reusable Face Mask by Foster +Partners - Scale Magazine

Reusable Face Mask by Foster +Partners

To aid the fight against Covid-19, Foster + Partners has designed a general-purpose prototype face visor, suitable for cleaning and reuse and one that is specifically aimed at fast mass production.

Reusable Face Mask by Foster +Partners - Scale MagazineFoster + Partners have shared a design template along with material specifications as an open-source design asset that can be used world-over to combat the shortage of face masks as nations around the world are fighting the onslaught of Coronavirus.

“This is to encourage both designers and in particular large-scale manufacturers to investigate the potential of digital and laser cutting machines as an alternative to 3D printing technology. Protecting front-line health workers is key and we felt this was an obvious way that we could contribute,” says Grant Brooker, head of studio at Foster + Partners.

Reusable Face Mask by Foster +Partners - Scale MagazineThe prototype visor, designed by a team of industrial designers, modelmakers, architects and analysts, is made from three components: a visor made from 0.5mm optically clear PETG, an interlocking soft PP headband, and a surgical silicone rubber head strap that ties the two together. These are all cut on the practice’s digital flatbed cutter. Each visor can be cut from sheets in under 30 seconds and the elements can be assembled in under a minute.

“With our single cutting machine, we were able to cut and assemble components for 1,000 visor masks in a day, representing a reduction of days in the time taken to produce 3D-printed alternatives,” said the team from Foster + Partners.

Reusable Face Mask by Foster +Partners - Scale MagazineThe visors can be produced and assembled or flat-packed and distributed in large quantities in a short span of time. An important advantage is that the visor can be easily disassembled, cleaned, sanitised and reused, addressing the growing shortage of raw materials for visor production.

“We are now delivering these prototype visors to a number of London hospitals where they are being tested. We are also exploring means of getting the design approved for mass production and use by health workers,” said Grant.

Each face shield is made from three components – a visor, headband and strap – which can all be laser cut. The visor is made from a 0.5-millimetre-thick piece of clear plastic, the headband a piece of the same material that’s o.75 millimetre-thick and the strap from silicone.

The components for the face shields can be cut within 30 seconds and assembled in under a minute.