Customer Story

LI Racing Respirator Masks

LI Racing Transform Their Business into Manufacturing M1 Respirator Masks for First Responders.

Brentwood, New York is home to Long Island Racing, an automotive manufacturer specializing in sport bike parts. At the start of this year they couldn’t have imagined the new direction the business would take. Fabricating velocity stacks for sport bikes was their primary focus for 2020, and, in January the LI Racing team acquired their first 3D printer – the LC Magna, one of the largest LCD 3D printers in the world. LC Magna’s affordable package, large build volume and 4K LCD screen deliver accuracy unachievable with other large format (SLA) print solutions, determining their choice.

Then the world changed overnight. Amid the spread of COVID-19 New York like many other cities experienced the sudden and devastating effects of the global pandemic. Hospitals and public services suffered severe shortages of PPE required to keep their staff safe.

With an advanced 3D printer at their immediate disposal, LI Racing swiftly adapted their business with impressive speed and innovative thinking to help manufacture protective wear for the local community.  Today, the LI Racing M1 mask is providing thousands of first responders with the protective wear they need to stay safe during COVID-19.

Creating the Reusable M1 Respirator

As a nurse, founder Matt Mendez’ wife voiced the deeply concerning issue of PPE shortages. Aware of the urgency and with a personal connection Mendez made a bold decision to temporarily transform the business. Designing a suitable mask was the priority, after locating a digital model of a human head and loading it in Fusion 360 CAD Program, Mendez began crafting a form-fitting soft plastic mask from scratch.

On March 21st the first 3D printed reusable mask prototype was ready, and after minor adjustments, the final mask design was validated on March 23rd, as being safe and easy to clean; durable; serviceable and reusable. Utilising 3D print technology enabled LI Racing to complete the design and manufacturing process in a matter of days.

Daylight Magna Durable proved the most successful material due to its ability to produce smooth surface finished parts that are stiff yet provide some flexibility. Initially, LI Racing were producing 17 masks in every 4h print run. With their single LC Magna large-format printer operating at full capacity, each day LI Racing were producing over 60 facemasks.

Considering costs involved, Matt said: “These reusable respirators cost about $30 to make in materials and labour, making them less than half the cost of the typical respirator models with similar performance.”

Spotting an opportunity to increase production LI Racing began to experiment with ways to maximise LC Magna’s generous build volume.

Taking advantage of the 350mm build height, after a little support using Photocentric’s Studio slicer software, the LI team successfully trialled the idea of stacking masks virtually.

Now, LI Racing have almost doubled production to 150 masks in a single print run; streamlining the procedure and significantly reducing handling time.

The Next Steps – M1 Respirator Available to Public.

The LI team created an entire workflow to allow them to produce at least 150 masks a day.

“This was a huge accomplishment due to all the hard work of prototype testing and development that went into the mask. Having an LC Magna 3D printer in-house that can deliver fast results has been fundamental to our efforts – it wouldn’t be possible without this responsive technology.”

The LI Team racing have now made their M1 reusable respirator available to the public, shipping complete packages containing everything required from straps, high flow adaptor and filter bag. The new goal for LI Racing is to deliver up to 1,200 reusable respirators a week to help keep the public, as well as first responders safe, something which would not have been possible without 3D printing.