Hello Machine Bros!
Today we bring you this analysis of 3D printing in times of Coronavirus.
As we well know, these are difficult times. The year 2020 has been a year of challenges, humanity is fighting a virus that has become a pandemic that has cost the lives of thousands of people.
It has been a tough year for science, medicine and for all of us as a society.
As in all great difficulties, where the health of millions of people has been compromised, it has always been the health workers (doctors, nurses, among others) who have been at the forefront of these battles.
For this, first of all, on behalf of The Machine Bros, we would like to give our most sincere thanks to all those heroes who are on the front line of battle against this virus, to the doctors and nurses who risk their lives to save others, an infinite thanks to you!
We also take the opportunity to give our most sincere thanks, respect and admiration to the entire scientific community that day by day are working to find the best way to provide solutions to this situation.
The Makers community has wanted to contribute our grain of sand in this fight, and as lovers of technology, we have wanted to provide our support.
That is why the Makers have tried to help by making use of 3D printing.
More united than ever, within the Maker community, possible solutions or contributions that we could make using our machines have been discussed, and we will talk about this specifically today.
We want to mention the contributions, ideas, and other initiatives that have emerged to help in this fight against Covid-19 by making use of 3D printing.
But before looking for solutions, it is extremely necessary to know the problem in-depth, in order to analyze the best way to attack it.
What Aspects of Covid-19 Do We Need to Know to Face it With 3D Printing?
By now, almost all of us know what is Covid-19. We know that it is a coronavirus caused by the virus called SARS-CoV-2.
Coronaviruses have been around for a long time and there have already been two other coronavirus outbreaks.
The first outbreak caused by SARS-CoV became known around mid-2002 and the second outbreak was in mid-2012, caused by MERS-CoV.
The main difference from the other coronaviruses to this one (Covid-19) has been how easy it is to get it and its rapid spread; this is one of the main reasons why Covid-19 became a pandemic.
In order to deal with this virus using 3D printing technology, it is necessary to take into account the following aspects of Covid-19:
- A virus is still a particle, each SARS-CoV-2 virion has an approximate diameter of between 50 and 200 nanometers, which is equivalent to 0.05 and 0.2 microns respectively.
To give you a better idea of how small it is, N95 masks effectively filter out particles down to 0.3 microns.
This is important to keep in mind because remember that 3D printing by FMD is generally porous.
- Covid-19 is spread between people by indirect contact (through contaminated objects or surfaces), or by direct contact with infected people through their secretions from the mouth and nose.
These include saliva, respiratory secretions, or tiny droplets of discharge that are released from the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or sings, to name a few examples.
People who are in close contact with an infected person can get Covid-19 when those tiny infectious droplets get into their mouth, nose, or eyes.
- In some articles, it is said that SARS-CoV-2 can last between 3 and 4 days in some plastics, and still remain active and contagious.
These times vary depending on the temperature and humidity of the environment.
This data is very important because we are talking about 3D printers that print on plastic.
Although it is obvious that there are other technologies, this is the most accessible and common that users of 3D printers by FDM have.
- The most widely used methods to disinfect surfaces involve the use of heat, chemicals (for example, chlorine, alcohol, acetone, among others), ultraviolet light, ozone, among others.
It is important to take this into account because if the objects that we print in 3D are exposed to the virus we will have to disinfect them at some point, it would be necessary to consider whether the disinfection method would attack or affect the plastic used to print in 3D.
- Covid-19 is transmitted through the air in 2 ways, the first is by Flügge Drops, which are larger and heavier, which is why they do not usually remain suspended in the air for a long time, that is why they do not tend to spread beyond 2 meters, so it is advisable to keep that distance to reduce the probability of getting infected.
In this type of drops, there are usually quite a lot of virus particles, it is because of this that Flügge Drops are considered the main route of contagion, whether they infect directly or indirectly.
Flügge Drops are inadvertently expelled through the mouth and nose when performing actions such as coughing, sneezing, or even speaking quietly or exhaling.
Now, there are even smaller droplets, which have a diameter of fewer than 5 microns, which are dispersed as aerosols and remain suspended in the air for much longer.
This second way in which the virus leaves the human body and comes into contact with the air is still under study. Whether these droplets have enough virus particles to infect another individual is still being tested, and it is not yet known exactly how many particles have to enter someone’s body before they become ill.
What is certain is that the more virions enter your body, the greater the probability of infecting you.
Due to these smaller droplets that behave like aerosols, it is advisable to pay extra attention to indoor air circulation patterns, some studies urge to ensure air renewal.
But why is it important to know this? Because in this way, knowing how the virus spreads, we can analyze what is the best way to deal with Covid-19 using 3D printing.
Examples of 3D Printed Objects for the Fight Against Covid-19
3D Printed Protection Masks
It is a prototype mask to help prevent the spread of the virus.
It consists of a part manufactured in a 3D printer, to which a filter is added in the center.
Prototype with the option to install two filters.
N95 MASKS AGAINST CORONAVIRUS COVID19
Similar prototype to the previous one.
Masks for Hospital Ventilators
Emergency mask for hospital ventilators
It is a prototype or project that seeks to create masks for hospital respirators.
It is still in a testing stage; we quote what it’s explained by the inventors
“Neither the mask nor the link are certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need. Usage by the patient is subjected to the acceptance of use of an uncertified biomedical device, by providing a signed declaration.“
3D Printed Mask Fasteners
The intention of these designs is to facilitate the fastening of the masks to the face so that they do not hurt the ears.
What you should take into account is that this invention could tighten the strings a little more (rubber bands or elastic bands), therefore, it is possible that the mask could be a little tighter.
It is a clip that helps to wear the masks on the shirt or pants.
For when it is not necessary to wear the mask, have a place to put it momentarily.
3D Printed Face shields
The objective of the face shields is that the Flügge Drops, the main route of transmission of the virus determined until now, do not come into contact with our eyes, mouth or nose.
|Note: Only the headband is printed, the transparent sheet must be obtained separately.|
Protective Visor by 3DVerkstan
COVID 19 CORONAVIRUS CAP PROTECTION
This is an interesting face shield prototype because it raises the possibility of using a cap as the main support.
Small fasteners are 3D printed, and the transparent sheet is attached.
3D Printed Door Openers
These designs are an interesting proposition!
The intention is that you can open doors and touch things (for example, doorbells, elevator buttons, among others) without the need to touch them directly with your hand.
Remember that if your 3D print is exposed to the virus, you must disinfect it using one of the methods recommended by medical and scientific personnel.
You must bear in mind that the method to be used could attack or affect the plastic used.
There are studies that affirm that the virus can remain active for up to 4 days in certain plastics under certain environmental conditions.
DOOR OPENER – FIGHT CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
3D Models Related to Hospital Respirators
Respirator-free reanimation Venturi’s valve
They are Venturi valves designed by reverse engineering by the CEO of the company Isinnova Christian Fracassi to be printed in 3D, which are used in certain artificial respirators.
A hospital in Brescia had this need, a need to which Christian Fracassi responded.
Find here the original story
Find here another article about the story
Find here the STL & CAD Files
These devices were designed with the intention that a single ventilator can benefit more than one patient.
There are several companies working on this, one of them is prismahealth.
In order to 3D print these models and be used in patients, the respective approval of the respective entities (the FDA for example) is necessary.
Regarding the use of these devices, there are opinions that differ from each other, for example, several associations advise against the shared use of respirators.
These groups state the following:
“… it is better to purpose the ventilator to the patient most likely to benefit than fail to prevent, or even cause, the demise of multiple patients…”
There are many projects that seek to design artificial respirators.
There are various inventors who use 3D printers to make certain parts to manufacture these devices.
For the use of these respirators in patients, it is necessary to comply with certain rules and regulations.
There are many projects, financing and incentives that are betting on this type of “low cost” respirators.
What you should keep in mind is that you will need to have knowledge other than 3D printing to be able to venture into this type of invention.
The original article talks about some Spaniards who used 3D printing to build an artificial respirator, if you want to access the original article you just have to click here.
They are the nasal swabs to test for Covid-19.
Formlabs is one of the companies that are at the forefront in this matter.
Obviously, to make these pieces it is necessary to have the approval of the respective entities (the FDA for example).
This is because the swabs are introduced through the nasal route to the patients who will undergo the test to determine if they are sick with Covid-19 or not.
These swabs are 3D printed by SLA with biocompatible resins, you can click here to learn more about it.
Corona Virus (2019-nCoV, COVID-2019)
It is a 3D printable replica of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, this model is interesting because it could be used for educational, medical, scientific and informational purposes.
- FDM 3D printing is generally very porous and the virus is very small. Therefore, it is difficult for a 3D printed part (without the use of external filters) to filter the virus.
- The virus remains active sometimes up to 4 days in plastics.
As a possible solution to this, they currently sell an antibacterial filament.
To know more about this filament you just have to click here.
You need to know that despite being an “antibacterial” filament, it does not imply that we can affirm that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is inactivated with it, nor can we say with certainty how long the virus lasts active in this type of filament.
That is why its use is only recommended for prototypes until it is subjected to studies in certified laboratories.
We cannot use this type of prototype as if it’s “safe”, it could give us a false sense of security, which would end up being harmful if the 3D invention in question has not been subjected to the tests to determine its effectiveness.
- Some of the disinfection methods used to deactivate SARS-CoV-2 can attack or affect some of the plastics that we use for 3D printing.
One of the most chemical-resistant plastics commonly used in 3D printing is PETG.
To better understand the properties and characteristics of certain filaments, we advise you to take a look at our article Guide to select 3D printing filaments.
We could say that one of the most convenient objects to 3D print are face shields, this due to the following reasons:
- Virtually all 3D printer users can print these face shields.
- Not so many rules and regulations are required to 3D print them, since they are not introduced to a patient, and their job is not to filter the virus either.
- The main route of contagion determined so far is the Flügge Drops, with the use of these masks the probability of being infected by this route is greatly reduced.
- Any user can make use of these protectors, both medical, sick, civil, among others…
- There are designs that are very easy, cheap, and quick to 3D print.
- The use of special filaments is not required to print these protectors.
The main disadvantage of 3D printing these protectors is that it is necessary to use transparent sheets, which cannot be 3D printed, these must be purchased.
There are several designs of these face shields to print in 3D, for example, there is the prusa model, the HP models, the carbon3d model, among many others that we can find in Thingiverse, MyMiniFactory and Cults3d, this just to name a few websites that serve as a repository of files to print in 3D.
It is best to always ask the hospitals and doctors in your area if there is a specific need that you can help cover with the use of 3D printing, you can also find out if there are communities of makers in your area working together for some good in common, that they are already coordinated and you just have to join them in their initiative.
With regard to face shields, you can choose any of the existing models that are already tested.
There is a model that was used in Europe that was quite interesting, because it was not necessary to use garters, straps, suspenders, elastic bands, among others.
In turn, it is an easy and fast design to 3D print, which was implemented and authorized for use in some hospitals in Europe, this design is from 3dverkstan.
Here at The Machine Bros we want to show you how we print this model.
Some News About How 3D Printing Has Supported This Fight Against Covid-19
Respirators From 3D Printers: How The Spanish Maker Community Fights Covid-19 From Their Living Rooms
3D PRINTERS ARE ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Mask-makers have helped thousands
‘This Is Truly a Last Resort.’ Makers Are 3D Printing Ventilator Parts and Sewing Masks Amid a Critical Shortage in Medical Supplies
Conclusions About Covid-19 and 3D Printing
We can say with certainty that yes, with 3D printing we can help in this fight against Covid-19.
Now that humanity is going through this adversity, it is that we must give the best of ourselves as a society, whether we simply stay at home, use masks, or contribute something from our profession or knowledge.
We know from our own experience that most makers like to collaborate, and as makers, we know that we bet on technology to provide solutions to problems, but we must be very aware of the limitations and responsibilities inherent in developing health related prototypes.
With this, lives are at stake, we cannot offer a “supposed protection” that in reality, we have not been able to scientifically prove that it really works, we cannot create products that give a false sense of security to the user.
For medicine and health, there are regulations and standards established by the respective entities in each government, in each country, regulations and rules that seek to comply with sufficient safety requirements so that the devices that are developed are not harmful to users or patients.
What do we want to encourage them? To continue trying to help, contribute, but never leave security aside, investigate, ask in their communities what they need and what they can contribute with their 3D printers if this is what they want to do, do not offer prototypes not tested in laboratories to common users, these prototypes should only be offered to people or companies that have the appropriate tools and authorizations to test your prototypes in laboratories.
Remember that, if you offer, for example, a 3D printed mask, with which the user is later infected with the virus, and it is shown that the contagion of that individual was your responsibility, if it is determined that your printed masks did not meet the standards, nor did they go through the respective tests, this implies that you may have legal problems.
If the user dies from Covid-19, the possible consequences could even involve custodial measures against you, we are talking about you could go to prison.
This not only applies to masks, but to any prototype that seeks to provide solutions against Covid-19 and ends up being harmful to patients or users.
We insist, the idea is not to inhibit you or discourage you from collaborating, we seek is that you can contribute without your own integrity or that of others being compromised.
Together as a society, we will get out of this, we will return to our normal lives, the important thing is to learn from this moment, to understand how we can improve as individuals and as a society to prevent or reduce the effects of other possible viruses with the potential to become pandemic.
The important thing is to remember after this happens how valuable certain professions are, to value their work, to encourage them.
Remember how fragile we are, and how fundamental science is to our existence.
Let’s not forget the deceased, their stories, who they were, that they are not just another number in the statistics, but also commemorate the heroes who died fighting this virus, heroes who put their lives at the disposal of humanity to save the lives of others.
See you soon Machine Bros!