Face mask by Standard Issue

Standard Issue creates open-source design for CNC-cut face mask

Brooklyn design agency Standard Issue has created an open-source design for a face mask that can be CNC-cut and produced on a large scale.

Standard Issue's product, called One Mask, is designed so it can be produced by companies that have access to automated cutting and seaming technologies, such as manufacturers for furniture, fashion and sportswear brands.

The face mask is not intended to be medical grade but instead aims to help ramp up the production of masks for use by the public. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged everyone living in the US to wear a face cover whenever they are outside of their homes to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

Face mask by Standard Issue
A central seam runs along the front of Standard Issue's mask

"A month ago we identified the real issue was not around the design of a face mask, but the design of a face mask that provides reasonable protection and can be mass-produced for rapid and wide distribution," Victor Abellan told Dezeen, who is head of operations at Standard Issue.

The design comprises two, symmetrical shapes that can be cut-out from a single piece of material. Standard Issue has designed the patterns so they can be cut by a computer numerically controlled (CNC) router, helping to produce them quickly on a large scale.

The two pieces are then connected to one another at their widest point with ultrasonic welding, which is a common manufacturing technology in many industries, including furniture and sportswear.

"It can be produced by organisations in many industries," the studio said. "The technology required to produce One Mask is ubiquitous."

"Manufacturers of sneakers, outdoor and athletic gear, furniture, window coverings, clothing and packaging are a few of the many industries that might pivot to manufacture One Mask."

Standard Issue advises using a "breathable, pliable, soft, non-woven material that will not fray" to make the mask. "The use of nonwoven fabric is a simple choice as it does not require stitching to prevent fraying and it is extremely effective blocking particles from passing through it," it added.

One Mask has a seam that runs down the centre of the nose, mouth and chin, and four straps are tied around the head to secure it.

Standard Issue said it based the mask design on the medical-grade N95 mask, which Lien-teh Wu created in 1910 in response to the pneumonic plague in China. The mask was similarly designed from cloth and sewn together down the middle.

Face mask by Standard Issue
The One Mask design is secured with two ties

Standard Issue's design comes with a pattern file and a step-by-step brochure. The studio said that the design could also be cut and sewn by hand.

"It can easily be made at home using a sewing machine," Abellan said.

Fashion brands like COS and Prada have already pivoted their production to make face masks in response to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Others have focused their efforts on producing face shields for medical workers treating coronavirus patients. They include brands like Nike and Apple, architecture studios such as Foster + Partners and BIG, and educational institutions like Cambridge University and MIT.

In an interview with Dezeen, physician and epidemiologist Michael Edmond said everyone should wear shields whenever they leave home.

Photography is courtesy of Standard Issue.

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Face mask by Standard Issue
Face mask by Standard Issue
Face mask by Standard Issue
Face mask by Standard Issue
Face mask by Standard Issue