How is the 3D printing community responding to COVID-19?
During the last few days, a wide range of initiatives have emerged across the world to face the current health crisis. It’s no secret that global stocks are running low for essential products such as masks or ventilators. Hospitals are the first to suffer from the lack of equipment. The 3D printing community has mobilised and put online a number of resources that will help face the current crisis. In such times, it is very encouraging and positive to see such a response from the AM community and players. It’s true that 3D printing can offer a lot of flexibility – simply unachievable with traditional manufacturing technologies. If you own a 3D printer, in a matter of hours you could make a mask or create a ventilator. The model just needs to exist in a digital file such as an STL file and sent to the 3D printer. Below, you will find all the details on the initiatives that have been launched up to this date.
3D Printed Masks and Ventilators
Copper3D has launched its Hack the Pandemic global initiative, which aims to mobilize all manufacturers of machines, 3D printing services, or fablabs to produce their NanoHack mask. This mask can be used as a replacement for N95 masks. NanoHack is antiviral, washable, reusable, recyclable and affordable. The company has released the STL file to the mask, and also instructions on how to print it and assemble it. Copper3D filed a patent, which it has also shared on its website. It explains that a team of scientists from the US and Chile are behind the development of NanoHack. You can find the file HERE.
As we were telling you at the beginning of the week, in Italy a few companies mobilised to 3D print valves for respiratory intensive care equipment in a hospital in Brescia. The intervention could save the lives of 10 COVID-19 patients – a showcase of the efficiency of 3D printing technologies in emergency cases. We contacted the designer behind the 3D printed valve that was attached to the ICU equipment, Christian Fracassi who told us: “I can’t share the file because at the moment only 150 parts are needed. If a hospital gives me the correct code for the valve and they have contacted their supplier who told them that they cannot deliver on time, then I will send them the file. The Prime Minister called me personally and asked me not to share anything.”
Mobility Goes Additive (MGA) has shared an initiative launched by the European Commission. The Commission has called for printed components to be made available to fight the COVID-19 spread. This initiative is an urgent call for help, it aims to get 25,000 ventilators for respirators 3D printed, as well as masks. The open source mask model they’ve shared was developed by a team in Italy. You can find the file HERE.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the Montreal General Hospital Foundation, Code Vie, in partnership with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), has launched a global innovation challenge to structure the many smaller initiatives that are emerging left and center in the AM community. They call it the Code Vie Ventilator Challenge. It asks all designers, scientists, engineers and manufacturers to design a ventilation system that is simple, accessible and easy to manufacture, whether through additive or subtractive manufacturing methods. It is receiving applications until the 31st of March so do not hesitate to submit your ventilation model. You can apply to the challenge HERE.
Manufacturers and 3D Printing Services offer their help
It’s not just users of the technology that are proposing solutions against the spread of the virus. Leading companies in AM have offered their support for the cause. The leading 3D printing service Materialise made available a hand free door opener model. The company explains that it developed this door opener because many experts believe that the Coronavirus can survive on surfaces for an extended time. Fried Vancraen CEO of Materialise added: “By making the design available digitally, it can be produced on 3D printers everywhere and become available around the world in a matter of hours. In this case, we designed the product in Belgium and people in China, Europe or the U.S. can now 3D print the door opener locally.” You can find the file HERE.
Formlabs, Airwolf3D or BCN3D have all shared their support in the face of such a pandemic. In Barcelona, BCN3D has pledged its print farm for scientifically validated projects. In California, Airwolf3D is also committing its facilities to create medical components that can respond to the global shortage. Companies like Formlabs on the other hand, are providing tips and advice on how to face disruptions due to the COVID-19, an important resource for all those that are now working on projects remotely.
What do you think of these initiatives? Do you have any ideas of what the 3D printing community could do to help? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter, with all the latest news in 3D printing delivered straight to your inbox!