3D Printing and COVID-19, April 29, 2020 Update

1 May, 2020

Doctors at the Institut Pasteur de Dakar in Senegal have used 3D printing to produce ventilator parts and increase SARS-CoV-2 testing in such a way that they claim has reduced costs substantially. An Al Jazeera report does not specify exactly what parts are being printed for ventilators, but we’ve reached out to the Institut Pasteur to learn more. The segment suggests that, by 3D printing ventilator parts, engineers have been able to develop ventilators that cost just $60 compared to imported devices that could cost $16,000.

Luxury auto makers continue to promote their efforts to supply healthcare workers with 3D-printed personal protective equipment (PPE). Both Bentley and Rolls-Royce are producing face shields for hospitals. An Duong, Supplier Quality Manager at Rolls-Royce Plc and director of Morethan3D Ltd, is producing face shields for the National Health System in the U.K., using a Craftbot Flow IDEX XL to make 160 face shields in a single print.

In Australia, Konica Minolta and 3D Systems are 3D printing Venturi ventilator valves, like those first made in Italy, using a biocompatible, sterilizable and high-temperature resistant material. With Erebus Motorsport, the company is using a Figure 4 3D printer to produce snorkel mask adaptors for replacing P2/N95 masks. Erebus also developed a Perspex box, a device that is placed around a patient’s head and chest to provide continuous filtered airflow. The device has already been delivered to hospitals around the country.

There are also a range of 3D printable hands-free door openers now online. Adapta’s take on the tool allows round door knobs to be opened using an arm or elbow. Designer Matteo Zallio has created a tool that can be used to hook open doors, push buttons, and hold objects without touching objects directly. There is, of course, Materialise’s hands-free door opener, which is bolted onto door handles and door handle maker FSB designed a forearm shield that can be attached to most lever handles. Architectural designers Ivo Tedbury and Freddie Hong created a printable tool to be zip-tied to pull door handles, which they designed for all of the doors they deal with living in an apartment complex.

While the U.S. has its own 3D-printed nasal swab coalition, businesses and organizations in the Netherlands have partnered to replenish their own nation’s 3D-printed test sticks. Three Dutch businesses—Oceanz 3D printing, DEAM and Almed—were able to make, package and sterilize 3D-printed test strips in just two weeks with a member of the diagnostics task force, RIVM, validating the tests. While DEAM organized the supply chain, Almed packed the swabs, and Oceanz made the sticks according to ISO 13485 guidelines.

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