The COVID-19 pandemic has two dimensions: health, which determines the life of the individual, and economic, which determines its quality. Contrary to what may seem to us now, this is only the beginning of the thorny path that we will have to follow. Every day, hundreds of people die in different parts of the globe – some due to coronavirus infection, some due to other diseases that could not be properly cured due to the failure of the health system, which has fallen due to a pandemic.
Recent weeks have shown that none of us need to be indifferent to the plague. People organize themselves into help and support groups, producing first aid items – either for the sick or for paramedics fighting with COVID-19 in the very first row of the front lines. 3D printing has proved to be a very effective weapon in this area. With the help of 3D printers we can quickly and cheaply produce the most necessary things. Although it would sound trivial once – 3D printing has truly saved human life recently.
Many innovative COVID-19 3D printing projects have been created. Below we present the most popular, the most interesting and the most functional of them.
Before we move on, let’s explain a few things… What is happening in the world right now is wonderful – thousands of people gratuitously manufacturing applications for medics and doctors, helping them in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic using 3D printing. For free and at own expense. It’s really touching and uplifting.
However, we must remember a few embarrassing matters that often conflict with goodwill, dedication and commitment…
- applications that are created will be used by doctors to treat really ill patients
- they don’t have any certificates – though they should
- it doesn’t mean that we have to do it carelessly – on the contrary, we should approach this with the appropriate commitment and care for the safety of the people who will use it
- let’s keep hygiene during work – dirty 3D printout is not a useful 3D printout; use clean equipment – gloves on hands are welcome
- do not save the filament for infill – no one needs a mask or shield that will crack after 180 seconds of use
- if we do not have the right filament for 3D printing – do not 3D print at all; why making something that is too weak or unsuitable for the conditions in which it will be used?
- if you really want to help, don’t try to accidentally poison, injure or inadvertently lead to someone’s death
- be smart, reasonable and think what you are doing.
Before you start printing, choose the right filament:
Copper 3D – the Chilean manufacturer of antibacterial filaments, was one of the first companies to create its own model N95 protective mask. The new version of the project – NANOHACK 2.0 is more effective in preventing COVID-19 infection.
According to the creators, the advantage of their protective mask is the possibility of using antibacterial materials for its production, which – in contrast to standard masks – neutralize viruses and microorganisms that can remain active on the surface for up to 72 hours. The design is intended for use in specific cases. The main task of the mask is to protect against infected saliva droplets of infected people who carry the virus.
The world’s most-popular 3D model associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, 3D printing by hundreds of thousands of people. It is perfectly optimized for 3D printing. It consists of two elements and fits perfectly on a 20 x 20 cm work table. It is best to 3D print with PETG (ABS Medical or PLA also possible). After 3D printing, attach the plastic cover and the rubber that holds the mask.
There are several versions of face shield. From the PRUSA Research website, you can download a variant with two masks on one bed (more space is needed) or several stacked on top of each other.
BUDMEN 3D face protective shield
Isaac Budmen Industries LLC is American manufacturer of 3D printers. The company designed an alternative version of the protective face shield, with a characteristic visor that maintains the distance between the face and the safety foil.
The company is so involved in the COVID-19 3D printing that suspended the production and sale of its own 3D printers.
Isinnova is an Italian company that became famous for creating respirator valves for the hospital in Brescia to save the lives of patients. This is another, completely original project of Italian engineers. Transforms the widely available Decathlon snurkling mask into mask for non-invasive patient ventilation.
Relatively cheap, it does not require any permanent alterations to the mask. Another way to use it consists the fact that the direction of the valves does not change, but an antibacterial filter is mounted on the pipe for taking air from above the water surface. Then such a mask is used to protect paramedics.
Filip Kober’s Easybreath mask
Polish engineer Filip Kober made three revisions of mask design dedicated for use with 3M P2/P3 filters or hand/machine made filters fitted to adaptor’s shape. As Isinnova’s design it is also dedicated for Decathlon’s snurkling masks.
As Kober states in documentation, mask has been tested for 1 hour. After that time sponge inside was completely wet, and air filter at the top began collecting moisture due to high expiratory resistence of face valve part of stream went up. No fogging has been observed and no CO2 effect.
Designed by polish engineer – Przemek Stachura. Paramedics use universal masks with filters for protection against COVID-19. Filters are manufactured by the same mask manufacturers as standard and are permitted by appropriate guidelines. At the same time, DAR filters are still available that are typically used on the inspiratory and expiratory ports of ventilators.
Łukasz Jackowiak, a paramedic from the Wolski Hospital in Warsaw, came up with the idea to create an adapter that would allow to combine the available mask with available DAR filters. The model is simple and 3D printed in just a few hours.
Materialise designed easy-to-use door opener that can be 3D printed on any FDM / FFF 3D printer. The opener doesn’t require drilling holes or replacing door’s handle – its simple to make and is very useful. Setting it up is simple: you have to fasten two 3D-printed pieces together with four screws over existing handle.
The design comes as one file, where both parts are stick with narrow gap between them. The door handle is well optimized for FDM / FFF 3D printing and no one using common hobby 3D printer shouldn’t have any problems making it. Materialise prepared several different versions of the handle – on the right we linked the most common ones.
Another door handle, designed by Spectrum Filaments – renowned polish manufacturer of materials for 3D printing.
In contrast to the Materialise design, the Spectrum version has a larger and more rounded arm contact surface with the handle. The model has been adapted to cylindrical handles. The assembly requires four screws with a nut – there is no need to interfere with the construction of the door or handle. It can be easily install at home or the workplace. The element itself is simple to print and does not require specialized technical knowledge.
MY FACE MASK was designed by renowned Italian manufacturer of large format 3D printers. The assumption of the project is to create a mask ideally suited to the shape of the owners face, which will protect against contact with the virus. Personalizing the shape of the mask not only provides better protection but also higher comfort of use – it prevents, among others abrasions with prolonged wear.
The virtual model is created by photogrammetry – based on the collected data, you can model the mask (a simple scan can be done even with a mobile phone). WASP encourages 3D printing of masks from PCL – a biocompatible low-temperature plastic.
Another unique design by Italian WASP. This transparent “helmets” give the possibility of breathing air without viruses and without limiting visibility. The air inside the helmet is filtered and forced in by a battery-powered fan. The cover protects not only the mouth and nose, but also the eyes and ears. It also does not limit the sound – small holes at ear height do not limit audibility.
There are relatively few elements in the design for 3D printing, but they are of key nature. Under the link on the right you will find a set of technical drawings needed to prepare the helmet.
Mask adjuster helps doctors and medicians relieve ear pain forced to wear a mask for long periods of time. The adjuster was joint designed by Peak Sport Products Co. and HP, based on consultation with medical staff working heavy hours during the coronavirus pandemic in China.
It is a small part that can change a lot. The element was designed for people working in hospitals and laboratories, who now have to wear them for hours. The replacement clasp of the mask improves the comfort of wearing it, allowing, among others to avoid ear pain resulting from prolonged pressure of the elastics on the back of the auricles.
HUAXIANG GROUP goggle for COVID-19 3D printing
The goggles were designed and produced by Huaxiang Group With a solid background in medical 3D printing. Huaxiang experts were able to develop and test these safety goggle within only 10 days, and rapidly 3D printing them to fight COVID-19 on Farsoon 403P 3D printers. The optimized design decreased weight while improving comfort for extended periods of wear.
The design is available in two sizes for better fit for all medical workers.
At the beginning of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, the Italian company Isinnova, 3D printed valves to the ventilator for the hospital in Brescia. The respirator manufacturer threatened them with a patent infringement case. Filip Kober designed an alternative version – full range of 5 respirator-free reanimation Venturi’s valves. It has been designed for horizontal and vertical production in low and high volume.
The project was used, among others by the British company Photocentric, which based on them low-series production for medical facilities in Great Britain.
SOLVEERE – personal door opener
One of the most often touched surfaces are door handles in public places, as well as the front door in our houses. It is very risky and troublesome in times of COVID-19 pandemic, where the deadly coronavirus spreads among others by touch.
CORONALATCH – non-contact foot based door latch
The door latch to reduce contact through door knobs. This design is highly adaptable to various kind doors and at the same time is one of the most easy designs for COVID-19 3D printing.
The lever allows to open and close the door knob while the protruding arm lever allows to manipulate the door with foot.
VentilAid is a pioneering project of low-budget ventilator that can be built using elements made on a FDM / FFF 3D printer. Currently, engineers are at the stage of the first prototype and are constantly working towards further development of the device.
The Ventil Aid device was called by the creators of the last chance ventilator, and its undoubted advantage is the fact that the cost of creation less than €50. In addition, thanks to the possibility of creating structural elements in 3D printing technology, it can be built bypassing external suppliers.