Marco Matthis, a second-year Computer Engineering student who is enrolled for the compulsory undergraduate module Community-based project (code JCP), applied the 3D printing process to make face visors, and a sewing machine to produce surgical masks. The first batch was delivered to Lebogang Health Care in Soshanguve.
According to Marco, one mask takes roughly an hour to produce due to the many pieces and materials that have to be stitched together. Before embarking on his project, he had done thorough research and had found a supplier who supplies the same material as that used for producing surgical and N95 masks (a non-woven polypropylene called Spunbond). He explained: ‘I cut strips of material of a manageable size and then washed and sterilised them. I made prototypes in different shapes and finally found a shape that ensured a leak-proof seal. It takes a long time to produce one mask, but I aim to make a very high-quality, fully reusable mask with a universal shape. I tested it against a three-ply surgical mask and found that my design lets less moisture through and has a much better seal (thus performing much better than a surgical mask). I am very excited about completing this project and distributing the masks.’
Marco aims to produce 40 to 50 masks, which will provide in the needs of the medical centres to which they will be distributed.