With the current pandemic and crisis, the 3D printing community has made its contribution. Manufacturers around the world developed masks and ventilators to alleviate the global shortage.
Caution: Free 3D files for printing
We encourage everyone to seek medical advice when it comes to health. Masks from private production are likely to help, but there is no hard evidence with regards to 3D printing. Almost all devices and files are neither approved nor validated by experts. Nevertheless, there is no reason not to experiment with your own 3D printer.
At this point, we want to show 2 medically approved and promising medical 3D printing projects.
Expert approved ventilator in Spain
The first medically approved 3D pressure ventilator was developed and approved by medical experts in Spain. It is an emergency device that can help patients breathe for a limited time. The local alliance aims to industrialize production to manufacture hundreds devices per day.
Manel Balcells, Health Commissioner at Leitat Technology Centre:
“This is an emergency ventilator designed using 3D technologies and incorporating other parts available on the market. Assembly is very fast, so we can produce about 100 units per day, and I hope there will be many more in the coming days”.
Face mask from Copper 3D
In addition, manufacturers also develop more innovative face masks out of 3D printers. Basically, the global stock of face masks collapsed during March. In most countries this is a basic requirement for the general population. While these masks are effective they also have some problems such as poor lateral fit, short life span (about 8 hours) and another, even more serious problem.
Viruses, especially SARS-Cov‑2 (COVID-19), can live up to 72 hours on various surfaces. This is a problem because when we use a conventional mask at the end of the day we have a high viral load trapped within millimetres of the nose and mouth. Copper 3D’s approach is therefore to use active (antimicrobial) materials to address this problem.
Google’s search for 3D printing exploded in recent weeks. Apparently, fighting the pandemic with 3D printing increased public interest for the technology.
Additive manufacturing/3D printer currently demonstrate their benefits in a decentralised production. This will be a big issue in the coming months, and definitely a key asset for 3D printings future development.