The rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic has spurred makers across the globe to address an immediate concern for both health professionals as well as those diagnosed or experiencing symptoms: namely, the alarming shortage of medical supplies already felt across the world. Dr. Jeremy Faust, an ER doctor at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s College and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, is more concerned about supply shortages than the spread of the virus itself. “There are places around the country where we don’t have what we need,” he told ABC last week, “[This] violates the first rule of any emergency or medical problem, […] safety.” If this shortage is addressed as soon as possible, future casualties in this pandemic can be avoided.
The need to bolster the global supply of masks and respirators is both immediate and long overdue. An innovative approach, therefore, is to manufacture and distribute novel devices that are simultaneously accessible and efficient.
The global 3D-printing maker community is already offering solutions to abate these shortages. Firstly, the respiratory qualities of extant masks, such as the N95, can be improved without modifying the respirator itself – a plethora of face shields are being downloaded, printed, and distributed across the globe. Lastly, the rapid prototyping of replacement components for devices such as nebulizers, which provide remedial relief, would greatly benefit those already suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.
Face Shields are Being 3D-Printed by e-NABLE Volunteers Across the World
Perhaps the most publicized and at-risk medical items are the N95 masks. These masks, so named because the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of 0.3-micron test particles have been deemed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent a wearer from inhaling the virus. Nevertheless, to curb overwhelming demand for these masks, the CDC does not recommend the general public to wear N95 respirators as a means of protection from COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness from COVID-19, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as of early March 2020, is to avoid exposure through frequent hand-washing and other hygienic practices.
Unfortunately, these recommendations have not prevented a global shortage of N95 masks and other medical supplies. In order to combat this shortage, a face shield, which can be worn in conjunction with the N95 face shield, has already been designed and printed – with promising results.
e-NABLE Heroes Helping Heroes
Everyone knows that not all heroes wear capes…but now heroes all over the world are wearing (and making) masks! Face shields are being made and distributed from e-NABLE chapters across the globe.
Below are just a few chapters of many who are working around the clock to help support our health heroes on the front lines.
EAST COAST USA
This past week Dr. Eric Bubar and a team of makers from e-NABLE D.C. have printed and sent their face shields to New York doctors, who have already resorted to trash bags in the absence of equipment. They are raising funds to continue to help supply the area’s hospitals with PPE. Kristin Toussaint of Fast Company has already identified New York communities simultaneously practicing social distance and distributing these face shields. At the 92nd Street Y residence hall in Manhattan, Toussaint reports, medical students stand apart from one another as they cut foam tape, attach the tape to the face shield’s 3D-printed visor, secure the visor, attach the acetate shield, clean the shields, and box them prior to delivery.
“THE SHIELDS WERE A HIT AT ELMHURST HOSPITAL LAST NIGHT — making their debut during the night shift. They are resuscitating COVID patients whose hearts stop due to the virus. Elmhurst Hospital is becoming a COVID ICU hospital only – so no matter the area of medicine, all doctors are focusing on COVID patients.Maricé Morales
Our efforts will continue and are now shifting to coordinate with LOCAL HOSPITALS IN THE DMV to make sure we distribute them to areas expecting a shortage.”
“Being quarantined isn’t so bad, when you have a purpose to stay inside [and 3D print face shields for those in need].e-NABLE D.C. Volunteer – Madison Bondoc
e-NABLE 3D printed prosthetic hand user, designer and volunteer, Aaron Westbrook of Form5 Prosthetics has been featured on ABC6/FOX28, demonstrating the 3D-printed face shields he has been assembling in Ohio. As Westbrook and his team have championed, necessity is the mother of invention: the face shields themselves are built with commercial, readily available materials, including binder portfolio covers.
Over in Chicago, Jeremy Simon, e-NABLE co-founder and volunteer at 3D Universe, has been working on creating video tutorials, testing materials, improving designs and keeping our volunteers stocked with filaments and 3D printers needed to create these PPE designs for our healthcare and first responders who are in dire need of protective gear.
WEST COAST USA
As of this past Sunday, Shashi Jain from the Portland 3D Printing Lab in Oregon is reporting over 1000 3D-print jobs, with 60 active volunteers. They have received requests for prints from New York, California, and Italy as well. Their work, along with so many others, is reaching national attention in Forbes Magazine – well done, all!
“Sunday Update (March 29th, 2020)e-NABLE Volunteer Shashi Jain
Today was a quiet day and only because you were hard at work, printing face shields. We passed the 1000 hour mark for 3D prints. That covers 388 pieces completed, with 281 underway. Another 384 haven’t been started. We have 60 active people 3D printing, an increase of 20% overnight! We have 82 registered on our crew, and welcome a new Laser crew, focused on cutting shields.”
In Australia, e-NABLE Volunteers at Free 3D Hands are working hard to get face shields delivered to their local hospitals and have re-purposed fourteen of their 3D printers to manufacture face shields that were previously being used to create free 3d printed hands and arms for those in need.
In Brasil, volunteers from Associação Dar a Mão have 10 machines working, 6 in São João do Ivaí and 4 in other Brazilian cities. They are contacting outside companies to donate more acetate and PLA filament, so they can continue to send the face shields to medical staff and professionals.
“The Dar Hand Association has mobilized its partners for the 3D printing of the Face Shields – facial protectors for health professionals, to help reduce the risk of contamination of the medical team and professionals who work directly in hospitals and health units in contact with patients infected by coronavirus.”e-NABLE Volunteers at Associação Dar a Mão
Our e-NABLE Brasil volunteers have started a website to locate those in need of assistive devices in their country as well as makers who are able to assist in the creation of as many pieces of PPE as they can possibly get.
Through their website, you can get access to the updated and remixed design for the Prusa RC2 design as well as tutorial videos they have produced to assist makers who are printing for their local health heroes.
In Colombia, e-NABLE Medellin has already reported medical professionals receiving and using the more than 480 face shields they delivered. They are continuing to fundraise to help obtain materials to produce as many face shields as possible for their local community.
“We have about 130 volunteers with 230 printers. In our first week we delivered 480 faceshields. Looking to produce around 500 to 700 a day. We have 8 área leaders in the City who pick up the pieces and deliver them to several centres where they are disifected assembled and delivered to hospitals.”e-NABLE Medellin Volunteer Adam Fielding
Our e-NABLE Chapter in Greece has been working on creating 3D printed face shields and working with their local hospitals and their Ministry of Health to make sure that these PPE donations will be put to good use and plan to keep donating and printing as long as they need to.
“The philosophy of our team is to offer assistive devices to improve the day-to-day lives of our fellow citizens. In this context, it would be impossible not to participate in the effort to equip the country’s hospitals with 3D printed masks. In collaboration with the Hellas COVID19 3D Printing Supplies, created by 3DHUB.gr and with the collaboration of the Ministry of Health – which we considered necessary in order to take any action – we started printing and will continue as long as needed. Any help is valuable.”e-NABLE Greece
e-NABLE Volunteers in Ireland have been working around the clock to help supply their health heroes and first responders with much-needed face shields this past week.
“Here in 3DAssist Dublin, we’ve printed and delivered over 150 face masks to our local hospital. We’ve also sent over all our colleges PPE. Our local police force delivered our stock to the hospital, a real community effort. Be safe.”e-NABLE Volunteer Robbie O’Connor
Our e-NABLE volunteers in New Caledonia have been designing, fabricating and distributing face shields in their local areas. They have 24 volunteers working around the clock for an order of more than 900 face shields. To get involved, find their modified files and ask questions, please visit this link.
“This morning, a general practitioner and a nurse came to collect our first examples of visors. The project manager would like to “meet the authorities” to think about a possible approval of this device. “I am absolutely not a specialist in health security, I simply note that the device makes it possible to avoid splashes on the face and that it prevents the wearer from touching his face, a reflex that we all have”.Hugues Ansel
In Thailand, Thai Reach has made dozens of faces shields from Prusa and other designs over the past week. These have been already delivered to Sirindhorn Khon Kaen hospital. If you are reading this from Thailand, and have access to a 3D-printer, please consider supporting the Thai Reach group and local hospitals with medical supply shortages by contacting James Quilty here: firstname.lastname@example.org
“We have made or have received donations of 3D printed shields made by other makers in the hundreds here in Khon Kaen Thailand all in 11 days. Other makers in part inspired by us and the worldwide effort have been supplying hospitals all over Thailand – making thousands in the first week.e-NABLE Volunteer James Quilty at Thai Reach
Our e-NABLE Volunteers in Turkey (Robotel) have been working on 3D printing parts to convert snorkeling masks into useful medical options that may be able to help those infected with Covid-19.
“The models we produced to support the health staff related to Covid-19 are in test stage… the parts made by our Antalya Robotel volunteers are being tested and delivered to doctors to try on masks. We are waiting for the results. We are ready to produce for all intensive care units if needed.e-NABLE Volunteers at Robotel
Help Support e-NABLE Volunteers!
In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, we are asking for help to support volunteers who are producing 3D printed protective gear for our medical professionals and essential workers, including face shields and respirator masks.
100% of the donated funds will be used to provide free 3D printing materials for groups around the US who are producing and donating protective gear. Every $100 donated will provide enough material to produce about 30 respirator masks or about 50 face shields.
3D Universe has already sent free filaments to dozens of groups working on producing and donating protective equipment for our medical workers. Your donation will help us to support more of those groups and individuals.
The global e-NABLE and maker community’s swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the capacity of human ingenuity and compassion in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. The mass production of these prototypical devices may or may not curtail the medical supply shortages long enough for stores to be adequately replenished. Nevertheless, when put to use, these devices – however untested or lacking in research and development – could mean the difference between high-risk exposure and no risk at all.
If you are reading this and would like to contribute to any of the efforts mentioned, need links to files or have questions, please contact the e-NABLE community here: email@example.com or join the e-NABLE HUB and the Coronavirus Pandemic Assistance Thread.
There are more and more stories coming in, every hour of every day.
Please make sure to follow our blog for updates and new stories! If you would like to share your story or guest blog, please reach out to Jen or Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org!
To all in the extended e-NABLE family, all over the world: thank you for making such an enormous difference!