Surgical Mask Tension Release Band for Ear Comfort & Extended Use

This design has undergone review in a clinical setting and has been found appropriate when fabricated with the printer type and materials specified.

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Wed, 2020-04-01 15:40

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Average: 4.6 (5 votes)


v2 - @100% and 85%
v1 @ 85% for average sized head
v1 - worn rear view
v1 - worn side view



We printed this on an HP 580 out of Nylon 12. This tension release band successfully held elastic straps and rubber bands attached to a mask.

works well, tested in clinical environment by Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Nurses and staff.

standard quaity, default bed and nozzle settings used.

remove skirt or brim, and print 5-up horizontal.

What is the cheapest 3D printer that I could buy to make these straps?

We just ordered a second printer to increase our production. I would recommend the Creality 3D Ender. You can pick one up on Amazon for about $250 USD here:

You can pick up an Ender 3 for $180-200

You can print 6 at a time for about 3 hours on an Ender 3 Pro about $230, will get to you sometime next week.

Working pretty much out of the box... the Prusa Mini. 

Probably a Creality Ender 3.

I'd second this comment. The Ender 3 is a great printer overall and an exceptional value. And I wouldn't advise going any lower than this price point ($200) in an effort to save money in the short term, as it will end up costing you more time and money in the long run.

Right now I believe that the Ender 3 is the cheapest printer that can be used. I bought the plain version, and a glass bed. The bed I got on Amazon. You will have to go looking for a slicer profile that will work for it. If you get one and need a slicer profile message me on this forum. It takes me 5hrs of printing to make 5. I might be able to speed it up some with faster settings.

I've been using my Ender 3 and a Monoprice Mini V2.  The mini is cheaper.  About $130 USD.  But the print bed is small and not as fast as the Ender.

You asked about the cheapest printer so that's why I'm responding.  The Mini isn't one someone would purchase to mass-produce from, but for family and friends, it's acceptable.

We printed these on a Fortus 450MC Gen II, using ASA (Red). Remained flexible and held elastic and rubber bands attached to the mask. The Fortus 450MC Gen II has the ability to print 20 at a time. 

Printer: Prusa i3 MK3S

Tested in Prusament PLA and PETG - .3mm Layer Height

100% Scale - 9 per Tray - 2h45min at 100% Speed

85% Scale - 11 per Tray - 2h08min at 100% Speed

I have printed a bunch of these and are willing to donate to hospitals in the Orange County, CA area. Kaiser will not accept them. Please contact me.

We ( makerspace) tried the design via laser cutting on .06" High Impact Polystyrene which is quite affordable and still easy to get.  The test cuts look great and we are going to test later at a hospital.  5 of them took 1.75 min on our laser (150w CO2).  A 4x8 sheet (about $40/50) would produce 133 of them.  If you could cut the whole sheet at once, at this speed it would be 47 min to cut a 4x8 sheet.  

They're coming out nicely with both PLA and PETG. I think the PETG ones will be a little more durable, but they both look like they'll be fine. We're printing them continuously until we run out of need, and going to send them to nursing homes with cloth masks that we're making, too. We're getting 9-10 on a sheet, 4-5 at 100% size, and 5 smaller ones at 85% size, per the instructions.

After a few minutes using this band it slides down the back of my head to rest on the upper part of my neck. This puts more stress than normal on the tops of my ears and is generally more uncomfortable than wearing the mask normally. Am I doing something wrong? Unlike the woman in the photos, I don't have the option of using a hair bun to keep it in place.

What layer height/ top and bottom layer settings did people use to maintain top layer surface quality?

Can these be printed in Pla?

Can these be printed in pla?

What are the best materials for this device? I've got TPE and nylon in stock.

Hi. I've been printing these for medical personnel. The feedback that I've been receiving is that the Ear Guard slips down the back of the head which pulls the straps of the mask down creating pressure on the top of the ears. People with long hair are able to overcome this problem with a ponytail or bun; however, folks with short hair don't have that option. Have folks on this site been getting similar feedback? Is there something that folks with short hair can do to make this Ear Guard stay in place? Thank you!

would like to help to our frontliners and people around me. what 3d printer should i buy? need to do something bored here at home.. 

Hi from San Diego! I'm printing away here as well.

I've made a few adjustments to corner radii and transitions to avoid sharp corners when printing. Here's a link to download the native Fusion 360, STEP and STL files:

I’m also working on a version for injection molding, faster printing, and also new versions to prevent the slip down issue for people with short hair as well.
All the best,
Julian Groeli
2020 Design

Would decreasing the size by 10% still meet the guidelines? I am trying to print on a MP Select Mini V2

I wear a cotton scrub cap and it does not slip down that. I tried adding a 1/8in foam pad on the back to see if it gets some more friction to stay in place but it does not.  I think the problem  is that hair is slippery and each strand moves independently and in all directions so it is hard to get the band to stay in place. Maybe another idea is to have a wider strap, one that rests higher on the head and one lower kind of like the swimming goggles.

Do I need flex filaments or can I print using ABS?

Would you recommend a more flexible material like TPU? I have seen a lot of these printed in for front line or healthcare workers, and have often wondered what they are printing these out of. PLA seems like it would not be a flexible as TPU, but I suppose if they are thin enough it would be more flexible. I had found some options on Thingiverse, Cults3D, and <a href="">Makersverse3D</a>, there is no shortage of these right now. I would like to print some for some family friends though to try out and see if they do help with the discomfort on the ears.