• Additive Manufacturing coupled with innovative thinking is paving the way to practical solutions that can address global equipment shortages.

    Filtering facepiece respirators, commonly referred to as N95 masks, are an invaluable line of defense for hospital staff dealing with ever increasing numbers of coronavirus patients. But with masks experiencing a global shortage, companies big and small are seeking to do their bit to make up the shortfall.

  • Digital Dentistry Repurposed

    The Denture Center in Windsor, Ontario, is one such company. 

    Fueled by a desire to help in the battle against COVID-19, and led by owner, Eric Kukucka, the denturists decided to see whether their collective experience, imagination and a 3D Systems printer could be used to productive effect. Usually, their Figure 4® technology, the NextDent® 5100, is used for high-speed 3D printing of dental appliances but they decided to repurpose it to create prototypes for N95 masks, as well as valves for ventilators. 

  • a 3D printer used by The Denture Center

    One of the prototypes being printed on Figure 4 technology to help support the Covid-19 fight.

  • It wasn’t long before they were confidently producing 20 such masks a day.

    One of the significant potential benefits of these 3D printed masks is that, since they are produced using plastics, they have the potential for re-use, which makes them more environmentally friendlya definite asset over disposable one-time use products, and a benefit in tackling short-term equipment shortages.

    And thanks to the team’s know-how, The Denture Centre can even produce masks that can be custom-fitted to different face shapes. Using a virtual scan of the wearer’s face rendered in a 3D image, they have the ability to create custom geometries.

  • Approval is the Next Step

    Eric and his fellow denturists have delivered the new masks and valves to nearby Windsor Regional Hospital for evaluation. It is likely that these will need regulatory approval from Health Canada before joining the COVID-19 fight, but Eric is hopeful that their designs can soon be put to use on the front-line, helping to protect healthcare workers dealing with unimaginable pressures.

    Whatever the outcome, this is a great example that showcases what can be achieved when people and cutting-edge technology come together for a common good.

  • Eric Kukucka, owner of The Denture Center in Windsor, Ontario, is creating prototypes for N95 masks, as well as valves for ventilators with Figure 4 technology.

“Even if our prototypes are not able to be used, we’ve created an awareness in the community of what is possible in a world of isolation to fight Covid-19 together.”
— Eric Kukucka, President, The Denture Center, Windsor, Ontario


The production of medical parts requires conformance with certain regulations.  The designs and parts discussed above do not have regulatory clearance at this time.  Any required validations and regulatory approvals are not the responsibility of 3D Systems but are the responsibility of the customer and/or user of the parts.  All parts ordered from 3D Systems are subject to 3D Systems’ Standard Terms and Conditions for Part Production Services available at https://www.3dsystems.com/part-production-services-terms-conditions.

Any design files or parts referenced or provided by 3D Systems relating to COVID-19 response support are provided “as-is” without any warranties or guarantees of any kind, including but not limited to, warranties of fitness for particular purposes, merchantability, or non-infringement. Design files for the manufacture of parts for medical use do not include any registrations or certifications. Users of finished parts or design files are solely responsible for their use and any applicable regulatory approvals (or exceptions thereto) and any claims of liability, including but not limited to products liability or intellectual property infringement, and will indemnify 3D Systems for any liability that may result from use of the design files or parts.