3D Printing for COVID-19?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, several 3D printing campaigns have launched or companies have used additive manufacturing technology to rapidly develop protective masks or spare parts needed for equipment such as ventilators. Even countries with highly developed health care systems are facing resource problems, additive manufacturing is an ideal technique to bring products quickly from idea to finished product. Nevertheless, 3D printed products still have to be tested and approved for the medical sector.

source: pixabay.com, PIRO4D

One of the first prominent actions was the oxygen valve which was manufactured for a hospital in Brescia / Italy. The original supplier was unable to meet the high demand, so the company Isinnova reverse engineered the valves and 3D printed them for the hospital.

The hospital used 3D printing to produce the valves. Photo via Isinnova.
Oxygen valves (Photo: Isinnova)

A production-ready respirator, the “Leitat 1”, was developed by a consortium comprised of HP, Seat, Navantia, Airbus, Consotrium Zona Franca Barcelona (CZFB) and led by the Leitat Technological Center. The respirator contains several 3D printed parts and the whole device has already been medically validated and tested in a hospital. The team named production numbers of 50-100 pieces a day now, and large-scale production is planned too. Additionally the team is already working on an improved version, the Leitat 2.

The team around the “Leitat” project (Photo: zfbarcelona)

Automotive industry

Manufacturers of the automotive industry have partly stopped production, but are using their capacities to produce medical equipment. Following are some examples:

  • Jaguar and Land Rover produce protective face shields.
  • The Volkswagen Group is working in collaboration with Airbus to produce 3D printed face shields.
  • Skoda uses their HP 3D printer to to produce respirators for front-line medical staff.
  • Ford is working with GE Healthcare to produce 50,000 simplified ventilators within the next 100 days.
  • GE  has started production of Level 1 surgical masks and FDA-approved ventilators.
  • Mercedes Benz announced to provide its resources to produce medical gear.
  • Tesla  is building ventilators for coronavirus patients out of their cars.
SKODA 3d printed respirator
CIIRC RP95-3D respirator mask (Photo: CTU)

3D printER manufacturers

Currently several 3D printer manufacturers are using their print farms to produce protective face shields like Stratasys, 3DSystems, PRUSA or BCN3D, the Global Center of Medical Innovations ( GCMI). Links to the mask files can be found at the end of the article.

Photocentric, a stereolithography 3D printer manufacturer produces several parts like face masks, ventilator valves and respirator masks.

respirator masks (Photo: Photecentric)

3D Systems published a list of solutions it is exploring as well as a FAQ section how 3D printing can be used for the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ultimaker has launched a community webpage to find help with design or production of medical gear or the ability to offer your help.

Formlabs produces nasal swabs for coronavirus testing.

3D printed Nasal swab for tests, source: formlabs.com

CAD Crowd started a design contest to produce 3D printing files. The contest involves creating products that will be shared under a publicly downloadable open source license (Creative Commons). The goal is to develop designs that can be quickly and affordably produced with 3D printing and/or off the shelf basic components (i.e. pre-made parts that are readily available).

Carbon is producing medical testing equipment as well as face shields.

Farsoon has made design files available for several 3D printable pieces of PPE equipment, find the links below.

To help defeat the COVID-19, in less than 24 hours CRP Technology has manufactured in-house several prototypes of emergency valves for reanimation device and link-components for emergency respiratory mask for assisted ventilation.

Currently products and ideas are brought up by companies and by private individuals and most of the models can be downloaded for free.
We list some different projects and print models here with links, so that you can print them at home, or if needed, request them from a 3D printing service provider.

This was the third part of our our series how plastics can protect us form the corona virus. If you missed part 1 or part 2 check them out too.

DOWNLOADABLE 3D printING files:

Face Shields:

Face shield by PRUSA

Face shield by BCN3D

Face shield by Photocentric

Face shield by GCMI

3D Systems

3D printable pieces of PPE equipment

Facial Mask Adjuster by Farsoon

Medical Safety Goggles (small and large) by Farsoon

Door Opener and Shopping Cart Handle

door opener

door opener by Materialise

shopping cart handles

Shopping Cart Holder
shopping cart handles

Protective Masks:

NanoHack

cults3D

NanoHack 2.0 mask

Hopefully we were able to give you some new inputs. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and join the hubbub.

Peter & Herwig

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