Welsh company Design Reality is using their Stratasys Objet260 Connex system to prototype respirators that will protect UK armed forces against chemical, biological and nuclear particles on the battlefield.

The Design Reality development team was able to use their Connex to prototype every single part in the mask, even ones that traditionally would have required assembly and gluing after production. With the Connex, most of the mask printed out in a single build that combined flexible and rigid materials.

Before they purchased their Connex system Design Reality used to take a week or more to prototype parts. There was no guarantee the parts they ended up with wouldn't need to be adjusted and rebuilt either. The process was painfully slow and kept the company in a lengthy design-development loop. Now Design Reality can load the CAD files up and print the prototype within a day. If they need to make changes they just reprint the adjusted model.

After printing the complete respirator prototype on their Objet, the team at Design Reality used those parts to create silicon molds. The molds will be used to quickly manufacture the respirators for use in the field.

You can take a look at how using the Connex System sped up the respirator prototyping phase for Design Reality here: