May 31st 2023

Innovatice Face Protection: Mask for Cheekbone Fracture from the 3D-Printer

Health Tech research at MCI prints face mask for football player of SC Mils

Head injuries, along with injuries to the legs, are among the most common injuries in football. One of these head injuries is the cheekbone fracture that is often caused by violent collisions during head ball play. To help injured players to participate safely and well protected in future soccer games, a quick fabrication and fitting of a face protector is essential. Unfortunately, this fitting and manufacturing process takes a long time, especially for hobby athletes, and is often associated with high costs.

To reduce the time required for manufacturing and fitting, the Health Tech research focus area at MCI collaborated with SC Mils to produce such a mask using 3D printing for player Martin Angerer, who suffered a fractured cheekbone at the end of March.

First, the requirements for the mask were defined, focusing on wearing comfort and protection of the damaged cheekbone. It was ensured that the player could participate in future soccer matches with appropriate protection. After the requirements were elicited, the design process began at MCI Campus Technology & Life Sciences. During the first stage, the facial geometry was captured by a 3D scan, followed by modelling through post-processing of the scan. Based on the data obtained, the model was adapted to the geometry of the face. Once the model was digitally designed, initial 3D printing was performed with a focus on the fit of the mask.

With the help of this prototype, it was possible to adapt the face shield to the end customer's needs and incorporate possible change requests directly into the model. After adapting to the specific requirement’s the design changes were made to the virtual model and slots were added for support and stability. Through this process, a stable version was produced quickly using 3D printing and the appropriate materials such as CFRP and nylon. In addition, the contact points of the mask with the skin were adjusted by using foam rubber to cushion possible external impacts.

After the development of the face protection, MCI handed it over to the player of SC Mils. A helper of the club could make the individual adjustment of the retaining straps. On May 21, 2023, player Martin Angerer tested the face protector for its effectiveness during the match between Mils and Münster. His first feedback was very positive. He was especially impressed by the individual fit, the wearing comfort, the optimal field of vision and the stability. The only issue was that it quickly got warm under the mask.

Thanks to this efficient method of producing the face shield, MCI could quickly produce a customized protective mask, contributing to the match and Martin Angerer's goal that afternoon.


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Handing over the face protection to Martin Angerer of SC Mils. ©Hollaus