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3D Printing Community responds to COVID-19 and Coronavirus resources

How is the 3D printing community responding to COVID-19?


As the now pandemic Coronavirus takes hold over the globe, we see countries implementing travel restrictions, social distancing measures, and work from home policies. Even the more developed countries are seeing their healthcare systems overloaded and fatigued by COVID-19.

In the more severe cases of the respiratory illness, patients may require specialist respirators to take over the role of the lungs. These respirators are in short supply, however, along with medical personnel, hospital space and other personal safety equipment required to treat patients.

Professional AM providers, makers and designers in the 3D printing community have already begun to respond to the global crisis by volunteering their respective skills to ease the pressure on supply chains and governments.

We will be updating this list of 3D printing resources linked to Coronavirus and COVID-19.

If you would like to discuss or organize the 3D printing projects during the Coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic, join the 3D Printing Industry Discord server.

Calls to action and co-ordinating the COVID-19 response

The additive manufacturing and 3D printing community has many members keen to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a summary of current calls to action and efforts to co-ordinate a response. Please contact us if you would like to add further information.

CECIMO issues call to action

The European Association for Additive Manufacturing  (CECIMO) is responding to a request from the European Commission. Members are been queried on whether they are able to aid in producing medical equipment for hospitals tackled the COVID-19 outbreak. Examples of medical equipment include valves and ventilators. 

CECIMO has extended the call to include all AM companies within Europe. So far, the response has been positive with, “many companies from the European 3Dprinting industry already volunteering to aid hospitals and health centers by proposing the use of their machines.”

The Association notes the legal constraints of producing medical equipment and has also suggested that Member States consider a temporary waiver of certain Medical Device Directive requirements.

Filip Geerts, CECIMO Director General, said “I believe that the additive manufacturing sector can play an important role in sustaining the effort of hospital workers in the middle of this emergency. However, it is in the best interest of all to clarify the regulatory issues in order to move forward quickly and in a way that is not going to delay immediate actions”. 

To be part of this initiative please contact Filip Geerts, CECIMO Director General ([email protected]) or Vincenzo Belletti, Policy Innovation Manager ([email protected]).

HHS Solicits Proposals for Development of Medical Products for Novel Coronavirus

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has updated a broad agency announcement (BAA) to focus specifically on products to diagnose, prevent or treat coronavirus infections.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), issued the BAA, BAA-18-100-SOL-00003-Amendment 13, to solicit proposals for advanced development and licensure of COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines, or medicines such as therapeutics or antivirals.

“Amid the expanding global outbreak of COVID-19, Americans need diagnostics, vaccines, and medicines to mitigate the potential impact of this virus”, said BARDA Director Rick Bright, Ph.D. “To accelerate the availability of these lifesaving tools, BARDA took an important step today to request proposals for development of COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines, or therapeutics, many of which will be developed using existing platform technologies to permit rapid development.”

More information is available here.

Central hubs connecting makers and medicine

A public Google Sheet was set up to gather makers from all four corners of the world to provide their 3D printing services for components like the oxygen valves. There is a submission form available for makers who would like to take part.

A similar initiative was organized by Formlabs, whereby a support network connecting available makers to projects in need of production was set up in a Twitter post. Both the makers seeking to make a difference and the projects in need of aid can participate by filling out this online form. Formlabs will connect relevant parties to each other and support the projects where it can.

3D printing resources and Coronavirus projects 

This section details the resources released and projects undertaken by individuals and companies in the fight against the Coronavirus.

It is worth noting at this stage the old adage, “just because something can be 3D printed, doesn’t mean it should be 3D printed.” While the innovative spirit and resourcefulness of the 3D printing community is admirable, medical devices are complicated and reverse engineering can have unforeseen consequences.

Italian hospital turns to 3D printed oxygen valves

A hospital in Brescia with 250 Coronavirus patients requiring breathing machines has recently run out of the respiratory valves needed to connect the patients to the machines. The original supplier was unable to meet the sudden high demand and the hospital quickly found itself in a crisis. Quick to respond to the situation, Cristian Fracassi, CEO of Isinnova, a Brescia-based engineering firm, used 3D printing to meet the hospital’s demands and, resultantly, patients’ lives were saved.

The CEO and his colleague, Alessandro Romaioli, initially visited the hospital directly to inspect the valves themselves and went about rapidly creating a prototype. After testing it on a patient successfully, Isinnova teamed up with local manufacturing company Lonati to mass produce the valves. Lonati’s SLS 3D printer along with Issinova’s six in-house 3D printers were put to work and the Italian duo managed to produce 100 respirator valves in 24 hours. The valves are currently being put to use in the Brescian hospital.

Fracassi now faces potential legal action from the company that owns the patent for the oxygen valves.

SexyCyborg offers to catch IP lawsuits for 3D printed components

Isinnova is not the only party to potentially face getting caught up in IP infringement lawsuits in the coming weeks. Naomi ‘SexyCyborg’ Wu, a prominent technology YouTuber from Shenzhen, China, has offered to face IP lawsuits on behalf of clinicians looking to 3D print patented components for respirators.

“I have the support of a good Chinese IP lawyer on this,” Wu states in a recent Twitter post. “I will get [the part] reverse engineered and serve as a team’s human shield/patent bullet catcher in China.”

Materialise releases hands-free door handle attachment

Materialise, a global provider of 3D printing services, has released files for a 3D printed hands-free door handle attachment to alleviate Coronavirus transmission via one of the most common mediums.

Door handles are subjected to a lot of physical contact over the course of a day, especially in public spaces such as offices and hospitals. This makes them a hotspot for microbes to hitch a ride on our palms and fingertips. The 3D printable add-on allows users to carry out the lever action required to pop open most modern doors using their elbows.

The file for the door handle attachment is available to download for free. The assembly comes in two parts and will require four screws and four nuts to secure it.

3D printed hand sanitizer holder

For those that have no choice but to touch door handles, an engineer specializing in surgical 3D printing in Saudi Arabia has designed a 3D printable wrist clasp to hold a bottle of sanitizer for easy access.

The simple design was realized by Moath Abuaysha, who aims to cleanse hands globally of the Coronavirus. The wrist attachment allows users to lather up their palms in antiseptic gel at a moment’s notice without actually having to hold and potentially contaminate the bottle. It also acts as a constant reminder to practise proper hygiene at such a critical time.

3D printed hand sanitizer clasp. Photo via Moath Abuaysha.
3D printed hand sanitizer clasp. Photo via Moath Abuaysha.

Protolabs helps customers respond to pandemic

Protolabs is a leading on-demand manufacturer with 3D Printing, CNC Machining, and Injection Moulding systems. The company is well known is the AM world and is putting its expertise and rapid production methods to good use during the current Coronavirus outbreak. A recent post on the company’s Twitter account describes some of the work undertaken and shows how digital manufacturing can provide a fast response in times of crisis.

“We already have a number of customers who’ve reached out to us for help in expediting the production of components for #COVID19 test kits and ventilators. Working on a 10,000 run part order to be shipped out tomorrow. Never been more proud to do what we do! #digitalmanufacturing

The first box containing components for COVID-19 test kits was shipped on Thursday 19th March, a turnaround of only 24 hours.

3D printable face masks

The utility of facemasks is a topic the World Health Organization has provided detailed information on. It is worth noting that any facemask will accumulate germs and the warm and wet environment can provide a haven for germs if not cleaned or disposed of.

Print farms for the masses

Barcelona-based BCN3D has offered up its own in-house print farm of 63 machines to combat the medical device shortage around the world. The company will be choosing from scientifically validated, safe projects to undertake.

Those with new ideas are encouraged to contact BCN3D at [email protected].

California-based Airwolf3D have had a similar idea, as they volunteer their own fleet of 3D printers for the manufacturing of respirator valves and custom medical components. The company is also offering remote technical support for medical staff that would like to know more about 3D printing.

Airwolf3D can be contacted at [email protected].

An unnamed large-scale PPE manufacturer in China has also fired up its farm of more than 200 Flashforge Guider II 3D printers to mass produce safety goggles for healthcare professionals. It took the company’s engineers just under two weeks to design, refine and finalize the 3D printable safety eyewear before sticking the Flashforge workhorses in overdrive. More than 5000 pairs of 3D printed safety goggles have been fabricated and donated to Chinese hospitals to date, with the company producing a further 2000 daily. The Chinese enterprise aims to ramp up daily production to 10000 pairs in the coming days and weeks.

Flashforge Guider II farm. Photo via Business Wire.
Flashforge Guider II print farm. Photo via Business Wire.

SmileDirectClub announces 3D printing facility for COVID-19 supplies

SmileDirectClub is a a Nashville-based teledentistry company more widely known for using 3D printing as part of a process to produce dental aligners. The company is a large scale manufacturer of medical devices and will be using its resources to establish a 3D printing facility focused on producing medical supplies required to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEO David Katzman said, “Due to recent automations that increased our printing output capacity, we’re able to easily add this production to our current clear aligner therapy lines. We urge any company or health organization that could use additional production resources to reach out to us directly.”

3D printed quarantine booths for Chinese hospitals

Winsun, an architectural 3D printing company based in China, has dispatched 15 3D printed quarantine rooms to Xianning Central Hospital in the Hubei Province.

The hospital is just outside Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, so it felt the brunt of the force when COVID-19 had just started spreading. A lack of hospital beds quickly became a pressing issue for staff as the number of patients increased exponentially in the first few weeks of the spread.

Using solid urban construction waste, Winsun crushed, ground and fabricated small individual quarantine booths to receive the stress on the hospital’s facilities. The rooms’ interiors are decorated and have their own water and electricity supplies. According to Winsun, the printed walls are 3x stronger than traditional concrete walls.

Winsun hoisting and installing its 3D printed quarantine booths. Photo via Winsun.
Winsun hoisting and installing its 3D printed quarantine booths. Photo via Winsun.

3D Printing events rescheduled due to Coronavirus and virtual events available

The 3D printing event season has seen widespread disruption due to the understandable decision to limit social contact. Many events scheduled to take place in the coming months have been canceled or postponed. However, a number of enterprising organizations are moving events online.

3D Heals postpones face to face meetups and moves 3DHEALS2020 event online

3D Heals is a global platform focused on healthcare 3D printing and bioprinting, and related technologies. The organization hosts regular meetups around the world bringing medical professionals together with AM experts. The enterprises founder, Jenny Chen, M.D., has taken the sensible decision to postpone such community meetings until summer and fall. “Little inconveniences in life can mean so much more to our vulnerable populations, frontline healthcare workers, and our loved ones,” said Jenny Chen in an email to members. 

However, there is a silver lining. The organizations’ main conference 3DHEALS2020 will now go ahead online. Meaning that many more are likely to be able to attend. The virtual meeting is scheduled for June 5th and June 6th. The new event ticket is $100, and the keynote speeches will be available to the public for free.

As Chen writes, “We can’t let COVID-19 stifle innovations.” More information about 3DHEALS2020 is available here.

Monday 23rd March COVID-19 Update

Medically validated Leitat 1 respirator enabled by 3D printing

A consortium comprised of HP, Seat, Navantia, and Airbus working with the Zona Franca Consortium (CZFB) and led by the Leitat technology center has developed a production-ready respirator. A lack of respiration equipment has been reported in several countries.

Pieces of the respirator are 3D printable and the project is part of an ongoing initiative launched by CZFB last week. The Leitat 1 was designed by Leitat engineer Magí Galindo and medically validated by Dr. Lluís Blanch, Innovation Director of the Parc Taulí Hospital in Sabadell, an expert in mechanical ventilation. 

As reported by El Periódico de Catalunya, a daily newspaper in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, initial daily production of the medical device will begin at between 50 to 100 units, with production then ramping up. Large scale production of the Leitat 1 is planned.

The Leitat 1 has already been tested at Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and the Parc Taulí in Sabadell using an artificial lung. An improved model is also in the pipeline called the Leitat 2.

Leitat 1 3D printing enabled respirator.
Leitat 1 3D printing enabled respirator.

Volkswagen plans to use 3D printing to produce ventilators for hospitals 

Volkswagen has announced a task force that will assess and adapt its car-making capacity and manufacturing facilities to the production of hospital ventilators and medical devices. Volkswagen has over 125 industrial 3D printers and is assessing how it can use 3D printing to produce in-demand medical equipment to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Medical equipment is a new field for us. But as soon as we understand the requirements, and receive a blueprint, we can get started,” said a spokesperson for Volkswagen.

Like other automakers, vehicle production has been put on hold over concerns about spreading Coronavirus and slowing demand for cars. Volkswagen is also donating face masks, normally worn by workers, to healthcare providers and local authorities as part of an agreement made with German Health Minister Jens Spahn.

BCN3D and CIM UPC screwless hands-free 3D printed door handle opener

A new project from Barcelona’s BCN3D and the engineers at CIM-UPC extends the use of the hands-free door handle opener published by Materialise. The new 3D printable file is designed to be assembled using cable ties rather than screws. 

The Arm Door Opener is printed as a single piece on desktop 3D printers and can be made in under 4 hours. 

Download the CIM UPC COVID-19 hands-free screwless door opener here.

CIM UPC hands-free 3D printed door handle opener.
CIM UPC hands-free 3D printed door handle opener.

Stratasys to 3D print 5,000 full-face shields in under a week, plans to increase production 

Stratasys has mobilized its global 3D printing resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first project from 3D printer manufacturer will see 5,000 3D printed full-face shields produced by March 27th. The face shield has a 3D printed frame and transparent plastic shield to provide protection to healthcare workers, it will be provided a no cost to medical personnel.

Stratasys CEO Yoav Zeif said. “Our workforce and partners are prepared to work around the clock.” The project was initiated after Stratasys learned from a leading hospital that in pre-COVID-19 times over 1,500 disposable face masks were used weekly. Due to increased pressure on resources, the hospital now has inventory for six days.

“We are humbled by the opportunity to help. We see additive manufacturing as an essential part of the response to the COVID-19 global epidemic,” said Stratasys CEO Yoav Zeif. “The strengths of 3D printing – be anywhere, print virtually anything, adapt on the fly – make it a capability for helping address shortages of parts related to shields, masks, and ventilators, among other things. Our workforce and partners are prepared to work around the clock to meet the need for 3D printers, materials, including biocompatible materials, and 3D-printed parts.”

Medical technology leader Medtronic and Minneapolis-based Dunwoody College of Technology will provide support for the plastic shield material.

Instructions on how to 3D print the full-face shield will be posted here later today.

Stratasys 3D printed face shield frame. Photo via Stratasys.
Stratasys 3D printed face shield frame. Photo via Stratasys.

CoVent-19 Innovation Challenge by Massachusetts General Hospital residents

The CoVent-19 Challenge is an open innovation effort to design a rapidly deployable mechanical ventilator. The challenge was started by residents at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGM), and the founding team of 13 people are primarily MDs. 

“The goal of the CoVent-19 Challenge is to increase the capacity of hospitals to provide mechanical ventilation. Our answer will be a rapidly deployable ventilation solution that we can use to close the gap between those in need and our actual resources in settings around the world.”

The challenge is supported by Stratasys, Ximedica, MGM and Valispace. Click here for more details about the CoVent-19 Innovation Challenge.

Prusa Research 3D prints 10,000 face shields

Face shields are attached to the wearer’s head and have a transparent visor that covers most of the user’s face to provide a degree of protection to healthcare workers. The protective equipment is disposable and as such supplies are under pressure during the pandemic. 

Writing on Twitter Josef Prusa gave an update on 3D printing these devices at his company, Prusa Research. The company has produced 10,000 3D printed face shields, to be specific the headband is the printed part, and will donate these items to the state in the company’s native Czech Republic. Prusa Research has also assembled a sterilization line to assist with production.

A freshly shaven Jo Prusa wearing the medical shield and googles. Photo via Jo Prusa.
A freshly shaven Jo Prusa wearing the medical shield and googles. Photo via Jo Prusa.

Autodesk to make design tools freely accessible

The US developer of software including BIM 360 Design, Fusion 360, Fusion Team, and AutoCAD Web will make these products, and selected others, free to access. “We are also working to ensure our customers have reliable access to their software and Autodesk support,” writes the company.

“One of the biggest challenges we’ve been hearing about from customers – and we’re facing this challenge at Autodesk ourselves – involves adapting to work in an environment that has become the new normal: more teams and more people working remotely or from home, creating an increased need to collaborate and stay connected. 

To better support customers facing this new reality, Autodesk is announcing a temporary Extended Access Program for several of our flagship cloud collaboration products. Let me be clear: we’re not introducing this program to convert customers into paying users.”

Today Autodesk is hosting an online session to answer questions about the products.

Photocentric demonstrates 3D printing venturi valves for respirators

The UK’s Photocentric has demonstrated its ability to 3D print valves for respirators with a trial run of 600 units. While the designs have not yet been approved for use in the ventilators the company is gearing up should it be required to produce the vital components. 

The comapny writes, “The majority of SLA prototype resins in the world are made from oxetane based cationic resins (3DS, DSM etc) and will not pass those tests because they are highly hydroscopic, whereas our chemistry will. They also would take an impractically long time to manufacture by laser beam. FDM does not provide high enough resolution (the internal air channel hole has a 1.0 mm internal diameter, making it difficult to manufacture), it cannot be autoclaved (as it is thermoplastic), it leaves a surface that is rough and corrugated and will harbour bacterial growth.”

Photocentric calculates that working 5 days a week and printing 24 hours a day the company’s inhouse 3D printers could produce more than 40,000 of the valves each week.

3D printed valves on the Photocentric LC Maximus. Photo via Photocentric.
3D printed valves on the Photocentric LC Maximus. Photo via Photocentric.

Roboze not slowing down in the fight against COVID-19

Italy has been hit extremely hard by Coronavirus and if anyone still needs a lesson in the seriousness of the situation the country is now full of heartbreaking individual stories. Yet despite the dire times, 3D printer manufacturer Roboze continues to provide critical assistance to those in need. 

Writing on LinkedIn CEO Alessio Lorusso describes the situation, 

We’ve received dozens of requests of help for critical components. We are supporting everyone for free. More than 25 machines in all the building are working day and night to provide all our support to face the emergency Covid19. For any need do not hesitate to contact us.

Now we are printing more than 100 urgent valves.

We will work non stop. 

Please, respect the work of all people who are working hard to give a contribution. Stay home.



An initial flurry of activity has seen the 3D printing community eager to provide assistance to healthcare providers. While the rush to help is heartening, it is still important to be mindful of the reality of the situation and bear in mind that just because something can be 3D printed, doesn’t mean it should. 

As previously noted, but worth reiterating, masks are an area where specific caution must be exercised. Masks are typically single-use items and while in high demand are frequently unsuited to basic FDM 3D printing set-ups. In today’s update we look at several initiatives where alternative approaches are taken.

Roboze makes design available to enable mass-production of face masks

Italy’s Roboze continues to work hard in the efforts to assist during the pandemic. An update from Roboze CEO Alessio Lorusso shows how the company is using it’s Argo 500 high-temperature FDM/FFF 3D printer to print molds that can be used to mass-produce face masks. The molds are 3D printed in PEEK, a material that is able to withstand the temperatures necessary to thermoform masks. 

Those interested in access to the design files should contact Roboze directly using the email in Lorusso’s LinkedIn post

Roboze 3D printed mold for production of face masks. Photo via Roboze.
Roboze 3D printed mold for production of face masks. Photo via Roboze.

iMakr delivers hundreds of 3D printed face shields to New York hospital

3D printing reseller iMakr has been working around the clock to build a new 3D printing farm in New York. The first results of the initiative have now born fruit and the company has donated its first print run of 3D printed face shields to St Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. 

Prior to producing the masks, iMakr established contact with the healthcare provider to ensure the items would be accepted – a practice worth bearing in mind for anyone attempting the same.

The company has ongoing efforts to produce vital PPE equipment and will be extending its efforts at locations across the world – including the iMakr facility in London.

iMakr engineer Jack Keum delivers the 3D printed face shield. Photo via iMakr.
iMakr engineer Jack Keum delivers the 3D printed face shield. Photo via iMakr.
A doctor at St Barnabas wears the 3D printed face shield. Photo via iMakr.
A doctor at St Barnabas wears the 3D printed face shield. Photo via iMakr.

Global Center for Medical Innovation publishes designs for PPE

GCMI, in partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Georgia Tech Pediatric Technology Center, has completed its first design files for those wishing to produce Face Shields for healthcare providers, the first in what they hope will be a series of designs for badly needed PPE items.

Download link is here.

Nanofabrica will host online brainstorming session

Today, Isreal-based micro AM platform developer Nanofabrica will host an online meeting to discuss the fightback against COVID-19.

The company will host a virtual roundtable on Wednesday, March 25th, at 16:00 GMT+2 and invites all interested parties to join a brainstorming session on how to use their manufacturing capabilities (3D printing with 1 micron resolution over cm sized volume) to fight COVID-19. 

Link to event: https://zoom.us/j/324801539

3D Printing Industry readers are also reminded that a dedicated Discord server is available where over a thousand members are engaged in similar activity, discussing Coronavirus projects and coordinating a response to COVID-19.To join the 3D printing COVID-19 server click here.

Ultimaker connects 3D Printing Hubs, experts, and Designers with hospitals

Ultimaker has launched the following initiatives on Ultimaker.com.

Connect and Print:

Hospitals that face acute shortages of critical parts and that have approved 3D print designs and material specifications already available can directly connect with 3D printing experts nearby to send their 3D print requests to be printed. Ultimaker makes in-house 3D printing capacity available as well. A continuously updated map shows which 3D printing hubs are available nearby.

Design, Check, and Print:

If a hospital needs help designing parts and tools that run out and are now in limited supply, Ultimaker is making a team of highly motivated designers and application engineers available to support in designing and creating the desired part. This part is printed by the nearest 3D print hub and sent to the hospital as soon as possible. After testing and receiving approval of the hospital, the part is available for further 3D printed production.

Siert Wijnia, Co-founder at Ultimaker said. “Hospital equipment parts might break or hospitals may run out of particular tools, for example. We are proud to see the 3D printing community come together to immediately print approved designs of objects that hospitals need right now. We hope these initiatives will help all hospitals understand where 3D printers, knowledge, and materials are available, so hospital staff can focus on what matters most: saving lives.”

“3D printing can make a difference,” added Jos Burger, CEO at Ultimaker. “We therefore invite all available 3D printing hubs equipped with Ultimaker 3D printers to make themselves visible through Ultimaker.com to accelerate the production of approved 3D printed parts, where they’re needed, when they’re needed. By unlocking the power of our network to support 3D print initiatives for hospitals worldwide, I am left humbled and honoured to be able to contribute in this challenging situation.”

3D Systems supports COVID-19 response

3D Systems has pledged support during the outbreak and has published a list of solutions it is exploring. The company also has a useful Q&A regarding frequently asked questions about how 3D printing can be used for the COVID-19 outbreak.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Question: Is it possible to 3D Print a N95 Face Mask or Respirator?
    Answer: Based on clinical research and technical feasibility it does not make sense to mass produce surgical masks or respirators using 3D printers.
  2. Question: Is it possible to 3D Print Face Shield Frames?

    • Yes – We are exploring several 3D Printed Face Shield Frame designs that can be printed with a variety of our technologies.
    • SLS machines like the ProX SLS 6100-3D Printer running a DuraForm PA (SLS) or DuraForm EX Natural (SLS) are the best options for quickly producing face shields from current designs. 
    • We are currently working with our On Demand Division to begin ramping up a bridge manufacturing effort to help get face shields to area hospitals.
  3. Question: Is it possible to 3D Print Nasal Swab Test Kits?
    Answer: We are currently testing various materials and designs to see if they meet the CDC standards for nasal swabs.
  4. Question: Is 3D Systems printing parts for COVID-19?
    Answer: We are currently manufacturing parts per requests from OEMS and other certified medical device manufacturers.
  5. Question:  Are 3D Systems OEM customers printing parts for COVID-19?
    Answer: Yes, 3D Systems OEM customers are printing parts for COVID-19. We are partners with service bureaus and OEM customers that utilize our technology to print parts.
  6. Question: Are there any 3D Systems medical education solutions?
    Answer: Simbionix has created a lung ultrasound simulation module that helps train users performing lung examinations.
  7. Question:  Does 3D Systems have medical-grade materials?
    Answer: Yes, we have a broad range of material across many technologies that can meet medical-grade specifications and biocompatibility..
  8. Question: Where is 3D Systems based?
    Answer: We have facilities around the world. Locations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

HP brings its global resources and expertise to tackle Coronavirus

HP has stated its commitment to providing assistance, expertise, and equipment to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Enrique Lores, President, and CEO, HP Inc said. “HP and our digital manufacturing partners are working non-stop in the battle against this unprecedented virus. We are collaborating across borders and industries to identify the parts most in need, validate the designs, and begin 3D printing them. Our deepest appreciation goes to our employees, partners, customers, and members of our community for their tireless efforts to support the medical professionals making a difference on the front lines.”

The company is producing and sharing 3D printed PPE and has a page where prints can be requested.

CIIRC RP95 is a reusable 3D printable, certified FFP3 class safety half mask

HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology is producing a newly designed face mask that can be made on HP’s Multijet Fusion 540, but is more suitable for the 4200 and 5200. The masks are 3D printed in PA-12.

The Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics at the Czech Technical University in Prague (CIIRU CTU) has developed a new 3D printable respirator called the CIIRC RP95.

A statement from CIIRU reads, “We have successfully certified the 3D printing variant!

The CIIRC RP95-3D has been successfully tested and certified to EN 140:1999 as a FFP3 safety half mask. The mask is ready for external filter P3 R (manufactured by SIGMA Lutín). The connection diameter is not important, it can be adjusted in the 3D print data.” 

The organization has also reiterated advice about masks, “we strongly advise against printing of respirator at your home printers”.

Owners of the 1,000 plus HP 3D printers that are installed worldwide can contact the organization to assist in printing. CIIRC estimates that one HP 3D printer can produce between 50-70 mask daily.

With this in mind, the design will be adapted for injection molding to allow higher volumes. A detailed Q&A about 3D printing face masks and contact details for the project is available here.

The CIIRC 3D printed respirator. Photo via CIIRC.
The CIIRC 3D printed respirator. Photo via CIIRC.
3D printed respirators at CIIRC. Photo via CIIRC.
3D printed respirators at CIIRC. Photo via CIIRC.

Formlabs Working to Provide 3D Printed COVID-19 Test Swabs to Hospitals

Formlabs, a Boston-based 3D printing company, is working to supply hospitals with 3D printed COVID-19 test swabs, the company shared on Twitter last night. Formlabs is mobilizing its community of users to deploy nearly 1,000 printers to quickly mass-produce these swabs as well as other important personal protective equipment (PPE). A single print can produce 300 test swabs at a time enabling Formlabs to produce 75,000-150,000 swabs per day. This development will rapidly provide hospitals with access to large quantities of these essential COVID-19 test kit components.

The Formlabs team is working with three leading U.S. hospitals, as well as Boston-based medical professor Dr. Ramy Arnaout on the swab design. The company plans to print these swabs in-house and share the design files with its community as well as other health systems to scale the project nationwide. Formlabs has been working with the FDA for years on medical-grade software and materials and meets a wide range of regulatory, safety, and other standards  — they know what it takes to build products used in clinical settings. 

Close up of the 3D printed COVID 19 test swab. Photo via Formlabs
Close up of the 3D printed COVID 19 test swab. Photo via Formlabs
3D printed COVID 19 test swabs. Photo via Formlabs
3D printed COVID 19 test swabs. Photo via Formlabs
3D printed swabs. Photo via Formlabs
3D printed swabs. Photo via Formlabs

Design challenges to produce 3D printable files 

As the previous updates show there is an incredible amount of work underway to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Designers are also responding to the crisis by creating projects to tackle the spread of the virus with several design competitions underway. Bear in mind that the entries to these competitions are not validated and caution should be practiced – we are sharing them here under the expectation that people may be inspired to assess, iterate and improve upon them.

The CAD Crowd open-source design competition.

Carbon gives update on COVID-19 response

Carbon has provided an update on its reponse to the pandemic, the highlights are provided below:

“In collaboration with Verily, the Alphabet company behind the Project Baseline, the COVID-19 online screening website, Carbon has designed a Face Shield that can easily be produced on industrial 3D printers. 

Healthcare workers at Stanford Hospital and Kaiser Permanente have provided us with positive feedback on these Face Shields.

Carbon is also working on helping to increase the COVID-19 testing capacity by developing patient sampling swabs. 

In less than a week, Carbon has produced at least 10 different swab designs, several of which were undergoing clinical evaluation. As of 3/24, the FDA told us these swabs are a Class 1 exempt device and we didn’t need to file the Emergency Use paperwork. With this progress Carbon is moving forward to produce swabs working with partners for the first phase of production.

Swabs will be printed at high volumes using the Keystone KeySplint Soft™ material, then shipped to a Carbon CPN partner for inspection, disinfection, and individual packaging.

We are also in active discussions with our partner adidas and their partners at the Mayo Clinic and ASU to determine ways to leverage their production capacity to provide as much assistance as possible.”

Those wishing to join Carbon’s efforts can contact the company here.

Farsoon shares design files for face mask adjuster and safety googles

Farsoon has made design files available for several 3D printable pieces of PPE equipment.

CRP Technology manufactures emergency valves for assisted ventilation

Italy’s CRP Technology has manufactured functional prototypes of emergency valves for reanimation devices and related components for emergency respiratory mask for assisted ventilation.

CRP Technology’s Rapid Prototyping Department used HSS (High Speed Sintering) and the Windform® P1 isotropic material.

“Following the intensification of the emergency due to the lack of fundamental devices for the care of patients affected by Covid-19 – Engineer Franco Cevolini, Vice President and Technical Director CRP Technology, comments – we want to give a concrete sign of our support: we 3D printed emergency valves for ventilation and several “Charlotte valves”.

“Charlotte valves” are link-components for emergency ventilator mask, realized by Isinnova on Dr. Renato Favero idea and project, adjusting a snorkeling mask already available on the market (Easybreath mask by Decathlon).”

“Isinnova has decided – Cevolini adds – to urgently patent the link valve (Charlotte Valve), to prevent any speculation on the price of the component. They clarify that the patent will remain free to use, because it is in their intention that all hospitals in need could use it if necessary.”

It should be noted that neither the mask nor the link is certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need. Usage by the patient is subject to the acceptance of the use of an uncertified biomedical device, by providing a signed declaration.

3D printed Charlotte valve. Photo via CRP Technology.
3D printed link Charlotte valve. Photo via CRP Technology.
The 3D printed valves. Photo via CRP Technology.
3D printed valves. Photo via CRP Technology.

Caruflan Group, SYS Systems ready to “keep wheels of UK manufacturing turning”

Based in Derbyshire, UK the Carfulan Group includes world-class metrology companies and Stratasys platinum partner SYS Systems. The group’s companies are well known in the UK engineering world. With staff-shortages and disruption to the supply chain caused by the current pandemic, the Carfulan Group is offering its expertise and technology to battle Coronavirus. 

Carfulan Group Managing Director Chris Fulton said. “These are unprecedented times and we’re all facing up to the reality that life is going to be very different in the months ahead.

“However, we know from our experience of working with our 700-plus customers that manufacturing will rise to the challenge by applying the innovation for which the sector is renowned. It’s important that everyone does their bit and we hope that we can do ours by sharing the expertise of our highly qualified engineers through subcontracting services, ensuring that those faced with fulfilling orders and satisfying customer demand stand the best chance of doing so.”

MTA provides advice to manufacturers

The UK’s Manufacturing Technology Association (MTA) has served and supported UK manufacturing for more than one hundred years. The MTA is now helping companies interpret government guidance and providing relevant updates on how COVID-19 relates to them. MTA advice is available here.  

America Makes joins with FDA to coordinate additive manufacturing response to Coronavirus

America Makes, the US national AM accelerator and a driving force in bringing together the industry, will be deploying its extensive contacts, knowledge and organizational experience to aid during the pandemic. 

Working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), an existing member, America Makes is leading an effort to ensure the specific needs of healthcare providers are matched with the capacity of the additive manufacturing industry. 

A statement reads, “As the Department of Defense Manufacturing Innovation Institute for additive manufacturing, America Makes’ mission is to drive collaboration in our industry to meet the needs of the US government and manufacturing base. This mission couldn’t be more clear today with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and pending supply shortages throughout the US. We believe this repository will play a critical role in meeting the needs of front line health care workers.”

Manufacturing companies and health care community members can use this online form to aid mobilization efforts

3D Hubs launches crowdfunded manufacturing fund response to COVID-19

3D Hubs is leveraging its global network to assist in coordinating and funding the 3D printing community’s efforts to fight the pandemic.

Co-founder and CPO of 3D Hubs, Brian Garret said, “Thousands of designers and engineers around the world are stepping up to design parts for life-saving applications. We want to make sure these parts reach those in need as soon as possible. By launching this fund, and committing our global manufacturing capacity, we’re accelerating these initiatives as fast as we can.”

As the coronavirus continues to spread, medical facilities and hospitals are under an increasing amount of strain, often lacking critical medical equipment needed to effectively fight COVID-19. All over the world, initiatives have been launched to help with the rapid development and production of such equipment, but many are struggling to access the funds and manufacturing capacity required to act quickly. 

In order to increase accessibility to this crucial equipment, 3D Hubs has launched the COVID-19 Manufacturing Fund, connecting these projects with both the funds and means of production they need to rapidly produce vital equipment such as protective masks and ventilator parts.

Activity so far:

Managed over 20,000 face shield requests

Supported Project Open Air to work on ventilator splitters to increase the capacity of existing ventilators – full case study here

Partnered with Make4Covid and the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) to manufacture up to 10,000 protective face shields for hospitals in Denver

Produced key components for the Prusa face shield RC2, already being used ‘in the field’ 

In less than 12 hours after launching, the fund has raised over $18,000.

3Diligent makes Shopsight ERP software available for free during the pandemic

3Diligent has developed a global network of nearly 350 manufacturers equipped with digital manufacturing equipment such as professional and industrial 3D printers, CNC machines, and other rapid manufacturing technologies like casting and injection molding.

The El Segundo based company is making its ERP software available to help ease the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) caused by the coronavirus.

“So many people want to help medical workers at this critical time.  By identifying the right PPE designs and manufacturing spec, making our Shopsight software free to ensure those designs are made the right way, and giving medical professionals a seamless way to order them, 3Diligent can hopefully help channel all this goodwill into the most positive impact,” said Cullen Hilkene, 3Diligent CEO.

Dassault Systèmes’ initiatives to address COVID-19 challenges

Dassault Systèmes’ software is used across the world by engineers, manufacturers and medical professionals. The company has now provided a response to COVID-19 and how it can help.

Bernard Charlès, Vice Chairman and CEO, Dassault Systèmes, said, “The steps we have taken in response to COVID‐19 are designed to promote safety for our employees, partners and clients with innovative solutions to help them work from anywhere with the full power of 3DEXPERIENCE collaboration. Today we launched numerous new approaches to accelerate innovations in R&D, manufacturing engineering and logistics, by fully exploiting virtual twin experiences online. Empowering our large base of 3D users to collaborate from home plays a significant role in their morale as they can continue their projects and learn together with a positive horizon.”

The Dassault Systèmes’ initiatives can be summarized as follows:

3DEXPERIENCE platform on the cloud fully operational for employees and customers, providing secure remote work capabilities on their project and program data.

Medidata platforms’ short‐term evolution to resolve biopharma clinical trials challenges with new therapeutics and protocols as well as streamline logistics platforms.

Customer support teams dedicated to extend our customers’ installations to work from home.

Flexible online collaboration conditions for existing clients to work remotely and new online training offering.

3DEXPERIENCE Education delivering online collaborative learning experiences to enrich our users’ certification and curricula during work slowdowns.

Continuity of services for learning institutions and curricula online.

3DEXPERIENCE Lab worldwide community accelerating a wide range of startups developing open innovations to address the COVID‐19 challenges.


Superfeet and Flowbuilt Manufacturing provide production capacity

Ferndale, Washington based Superfeet would normally be producing custom insoles. Together with sister company Flowbuilt Manufacturing the company uses injection molding and 3D printing to serve millions of customers. Now the enterprises will be using their expertise in rapid production to battle Coronavirus.

John Rauvola, CEO and President at Superfeet said, “The men and women who are our first line of defense when it comes to fighting COVID-19 are facing shortages of the protective gear necessary to keep them safe. We immediately looked at our machines and our team and knew we could do more to help. “We’ve already started the process of prototyping several pieces for medical equipment with our 3D printers and are ready to help create solutions for those in need.”

The company can be contacted here [email protected].

SmileDirectClub will produce up to 7,500 face shields daily

SmileDirectClub will be a familiar name to readers. The digital dentistry enterprise uses 3D printing in its process chain to provide dental aligners. The Nashville, Tennessee HQ’d teledentistry business is now bringing its expertise to and manufacturing capacity to tackle COVID-19.

The first shipment of 1,000 face shields is destined for St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center in Idaho and will be followed by further medical supplies. SmileDirectClub says it can produce 7,500 face shields on a daily basis and is taking orders from healthcare providers in the U.S. and Canada. 

SmileDirectClub Chief Executive Officer David Katzman said, “Medical professionals are on the frontlines of combatting this pandemic, and we are grateful for them and the work they do all while facing unimaginable challenges. As an oral care provider whose mission is to empower people by providing new and innovative ways to deliver care, we felt it was our duty to do all we could to help the medical community during this crisis. We are proud of the entire SmileDirectClub team and our partners for working tirelessly and quickly throughout the past few weeks so that we could offer help in this unprecedented time of need. We will continue to test and find new ways to produce materials that will support the medical community in doing their job safely and effectively.”

Inquiries and orders can be submitted to [email protected].

3YOURMIND establishes COVID-19 response platform

3YOURMIND  is providing a dedicated, free-of-charge Covid Response Platform, available in Europe and the US. The platform is designed for connecting 3D printing resources with hospitals and clinics in need and provide them with order management tools to connect supply with demand.

3YOURMIND is also building up a Digital Inventory of CAD models, e.g. mask designs, medical spare parts, things currently being evaluated in the medical community and front lines of response. From these parts or custom-designed parts, Users (clinics, medical institutions, other stakeholders such as supermarkets) can select and order. “On the other side, we are onboarding 3D printing services from our network (including German automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers”, said the company. 

For parts that are not yet confirmed if they can be 3D printed effectively, the Berlin-based enterprise is also offering a dedicated AM Part Identifier instance for users to submit part ideas and partners who are experts in medical certification will evaluate those parts and give feedback on medical qualification needs. Ampi-wirvsvirus.3yourmind.com.

Siemens uses network to connect healthcare providers and medical designers

The Siemens Additive Manufacturing Network is aiming to help provide, “ efficient execution of design and printing requests by doctors, hospitals and suppliers of medical equipment in response to COVID-19 pandemic.” Siemens has its designers and engineers available to respond to design requests and queries, plus will be able to connect those in need of components with available capacity. 

“Having worked on Additive Manufacturing for years, we offer AM solutions along the entire value chain and can print 3D parts quickly according to acute demands. To help fight COVID-19, we have opened our AM Network for hospitals and other health institutions needing spare medical parts to efficiently manage their design and printing requests”, said Klaus Helmrich, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO Siemens Digital Industries. 

More information about the Siemens Additive Manufacturing network is available here.

BCN3D delivers face shields to Spanish Hospitals, steps up production and coordinating efforts

Spain has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but this has not stopped Barcelona’s BCN3D rising to the challenge of fighting the virus. As previously reported BCN3D, together with CIM UPC, has been at the forefront of efforts.

The company has a print farm of 63 3D printers in use to manufacture face shields for hospitals and healthcare workers to ensure medical provisionals are able to continue to help patients.

To date BCN3D has distributed over 400 face shields to the following Spanish hospitals: 

Hospital Sant Joan de Déu de Barcelona (60 face shields) 

Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol de Badalona (Can Ruti) (50 face shields)

Hospital Sant Joan de Déu de Sant Boi de Llobregat (30 face shields)

Hospital Antoni Lleuger de Gimbernat de Cambrils (30 face shields) 

CAP Roquetas de Barcelona (30 face shields)

CAP Río de Janeiro de Barcelona (40 face shields) 

Hospital de Viladecans (15 face shields)

Hospital Virgen de los Lirios de Alcoy (Alicante) (50 face shields)

Hospital de Granollers (45 face shields)

CUAP Castelldefels (30 face shields)

Clínica Tomás Boix de Olot (Girona) (15 face shields) 

A further 2,000 face shields will be delivered in coming days

Arnau Valls, the coordinator of the 3D printing unit of the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu de Barcelona, said, “In the current situation, in which adult or general hospitals are treating the highest volume of patients by COVID-19, our role is to support and collaborate with all our means in the management of the coronavirus crisis, in this case, from the innovation in 3D printing of medical material”. 

Hospitals in Spain and the wider European region can use this form to request face shields and PPE.

Individuals and enterprises wishing to aid the BCN3D effort can provide details of their capacity and location using a form on the BCN3D website.

The BCN3D 3D printed face shields. Photo via BCN3D.
The BCN3D 3D printed face shields. Photo via BCN3D.
CAP Río de Janeiro de Barcelona workers wearing 3D printed face shields. Photo via BCN3D.
CAP Río de Janeiro de Barcelona workers wearing 3D printed face shields. Photo via BCN3D.

Tinkerine Studios provides face shields, secures materials for production

Canada’s Tinkerine Studios Ltd. has provided face shields to over 50 medical professionals, municipalities, and healthcare facilities for evaluation. The Tinkerine face shield is designed to cover exposed areas of healthcare professionals and provide a comfortable and reliable fit. Tinkerine has also secured raw materials required for the mass production of face shields and commenced production on March 24, 2020.  

In order to significantly increase the production of face shields and additional medical products, Tinkerine has mobilized its Education Production Consortium (“EPC”). Tinkerine seeks to deploy up to 500+ DittoPro and DittoPro-R 3D printers to manufacture require medical products with the assistance of its education partners. As of March 25, 2020, Tinkerine has had direct contact with several education champions that are leading the ramp-up for proposed production by the EPC.  

Tinkerine has also been in contact with Greater Vancouver Regional Districts to lead a Manufacturing Production Consortium (“MPC”). The MPC will focus on the production of medical products in high demand and short supply required for the Covid-19 pandemic. Tinkerine expects to provide additional details on members of the MPC and products to focus on in the near future.

More information about joining the education consortium is available here.

Prisma Health receives emergency use FDA authorization for 3D printed ventilator device

Prisma Health is the largest not-for-profit health organization in South Carolina, serving more than 1.2 million patients annually.

The VESper is a 3D printed device that extends the use of a ventilator to allow up to four patients to be aided by a single piece of equipment. The VESper is 3D printed from material already used in medical applications. 

Prisma says, the VESper is, “designed to work with ISO standard respiratory connections; can be easily produced; allows for appropriate filtering of bacteria and viruses in the ventilator tubing; is strong and impact-resistant, and does not impact the care of other patients connected to the same machine.

The FDA has given emergency use authorization to Prisma Health, “Emergency use authorization can offer critical care patients access to a medical device that has not gone through normal FDA approval; this is used when no comparable or satisfactory alternative options are available,” explains a statement from the company.

Also involved in developing the VESper were engineers at the University of South Carolina. Prisma Health is now working with HP to increase the production of the device.

More information and a donation link are available here.

The 3D printed VESper ventilation expansion splitter. Photo via Prisma Health.
The 3D printed VESper ventilation expansion splitter. Photo via Prisma Health.

UC San Diego retrofitting manual ventilators with 3D printed components to automate pumping 

News of the ventilator shortage in Italy drove Dr. Lonnie Petersen, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego and an adjunct with UC San Diego, to begin working with medical and engineering colleagues to devise a way to quickly produce simple ventilators that could be easily built and readily used to support patients in a crisis.

“We immediately had a lot of support from staff and faculty, all working to get this project off the ground,” Petersen said. “Our community is taking this threat very seriously and acting accordingly.”

“We’re 3-D printing parts that can be attached to a motor to compress the bag of the manual ventilator,” said Ph.D. student Aditya Vasan. “This allows us to control the speed and volume of the compressions to help patients breathe.”

Using 3D printed parts and off-the-shelf components to convert an existing manual ventilator system into an automatic one. Photo via UC San Diego.
Using 3D printed parts and off-the-shelf components to convert an existing manual ventilator system into an automatic one. Photo via UC San Diego.

“As long as the correct materials are used, 3-D printing can be used to produce a wide variety of tools in the fight against COVID-19,” said Shaochen Chen, a professor of nanoengineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering. “It’s not good for, say, entire N-95 masks, but it can be used for producing testing swabs or even face shields for healthcare workers.”

“This is a team effort,” said Petersen. “And we can use the assistance of other engineers. We would love to hear from students, staff, and faculty with hands-on engineering experience who can help us with this project.”

Qualified volunteers should email: [email protected]

Detailed information about UC San Diego’s efforts is available here.


The 3D printing industry and members of the wider 3D printing community have been quick to assist during the COVID-19 outbreak. As this ever-growing article illustrates, a large number of initiatives are underway, what readers will not see are the pitches from PR’s that are not included here, the myriad conversations on social media and in private channels, messaging groups, and emails regarding the assessment of options and coordination efforts. 

The 3D Printing COVID-19 Discord Server has seen an influx of community members seeking to help with the production of PPE, relaying information and also importantly – attempting to counter misinformation. I would like to thank the mods in the group for their efforts and also reiterate the message that FFF/FDM 3D printed masks are not the solution here, especially if it involves cutting up N95 masks to use as a “filter”. 

Face shields have emerged as a PPE item that can be made using 3D printing, but it is important to consider the risks involved. To avoid spreading Coronavirus groups making face shields are using UV light as a sterilization method, and batches of assembled face masks are reportedly been staggered for delivery to assess if the people involved in printing the masks develop COVID-19. Caution is advised in both these situations. First, UV light at “extremely high intensity” can be used as a disinfectant, but lower output devices may give a false sense of security. Secondly, the precise incubation period of COVID-19 is not the same for every person. A study estimates the mean incubation period to be 6.4 days, with a range between 2.1 to 11.1 days. Furthermore, an article published by the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and echoing reports elsewhere notes that “the great majority of people infected with covid-19—50-75%—were asymptomatic, but represented “a formidable source” of contagion.”

Today’s update gives more details on some of the ongoing work across the AM world.

EnvisionTEC engineers design COVID-19 testing device

Based in Dearborn, Michigan EnvisionTEC has experience in the medical and biomedical sectors. The company provides this update, “Al Siblani (CEO and founder) has been working with local hospitals in the Metro Detroit area to provide a functional ventilation splitter that could be 3D printed in a Class 1 material such as EnvisionTEC’s E-Guide

Testing kit availability has been vastly inadequate, and the medical community has been working tirelessly with the 3D printing community to find a solution to mass-producing the nasopharyngeal collection swabs to alleviate the shortage quickly. EnvisionTEC has been working closely with the Harvard Microbiology Lab within a larger group dedicated to connecting academia with the manufacturing industry to combat this shortage.  

To this end, EnvisionTEC engineers have designed a collection tip for a flexible nasal swab.  Brian Nilson, of Nilson Laboratories, 3D printed the final design for testing. He was able to print 400 of the swabs in Class 1 approved material E-Guide on his Envision One cDLM in two hours.  The testing process is comprised of a ten stage mechanical testing, a two part absorption test, a biological/chemical testing procedure to ensure the swab absorbs viral RNA particles and does not interfere with PCA/reagents, and a sample collection testing procedure.  To pass, a sample needed to use a material that is approved as chemically safe, would bend 180 degrees without breaking, and the design needed to be able to safely collect enough virus particles from the nasal passage to effectively test. 

E-Guide has passed some of these tests and is awaiting final IRB testing and approval. Under FDA regulations, an IRB group that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects has the authority to determine that E-Guide is suitable for the mass production of the NP swabs for COVID-19 testing.  EnvisionTEC has long been committed to providing solutions to their customers and is now preparing to take on the call to action of helping to equip medical professionals with the tools needed to help combat this global pandemic. With a vast network of thousands of customers eager to help, EnvisionTEC is proud to offer the capability of producing hundreds of thousands of the swab per day.” 

Stratasys extends efforts to produce PPE

As previously reported, Stratasys set an initial goal of producing 5,000 full-face shields in under a week. That target was exceeded on Friday 27th March and for the coming week the company, and a newly assembled coalition, will now produce 11,000 face shields with 16,000 as the target for the following week.

The coalition of 150 companies includes Boeing, General Atomics, Medtronic, Dunwoody College of Technology, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Minnesota. 3D printing bureaus and those who can “print at least 100 visors” can register to help using an online form. Instructions for printing and assembly are also provided online. 

Stratasys points out, “To help maximize cleanliness and for ease of shipping, we recommend you allow letting the medical provider, healthcare facility, or user of the Item do the assembly.” 

Requests for more than 350,000 have been received by the company.

“I have never seen collaboration across our industry the way I’ve been seeing it over the last couple weeks,” said Stratasys Healthcare Segment Leader, Scott Drikakis, who is directing the company’s COVID-19 response in the Americas. “The need is dire, but we are getting the kind of commitments from our coalition partners that will make a real difference and help buy time to scale up the manufacturing of shields and other essential supplies. This rapid, adaptive response is what 3D printing does exceptionally well, and I’m very proud of our employees and partners.”

Protolabs gives update on the production of COVID-19 equipment

“We’re currently working on a number of customer projects that are critical to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bjoern Klaas, Vice President and Managing Director of Protolabs Europe.

“The ‘Charlotte’ valve in Italy is already having a really positive impact on the challenge faced by medical staff and the wider society, whilst our latest involvement with AusDiagnostics is crucial in the national ramp up of testing for the virus.”

He continued: “The tests will be used by over 20 large NHS trust hospitals in the UK, as well as medical diagnostics centres across Europe. The customer makes almost 200 kits a day, but this figure will increase rapidly to meet the demand for more testing, with our injection moulding line ready to manufacture 20,000 cassettes every quarter.

“Digital manufacturing provides incredible speed of development and continues to be essential in equipping frontline staff with the solutions they need.”

A statement from Protolabs, which employs over 450 people at its European headquarters in Telford, gives more information about how it is supporting Italian engineers in the conversion of ‘Easybreath’ snorkelling equipment into ventilator masks.

“3D printed ‘Charlotte’ valves are being rapidly produced and shipped direct to its customer Isinnova, who are producing kits that can be used to create a non-invasive ventilator mask that will help save lives.

The company is also urgently working with a highly multiplexed molecular diagnostics specialist to produce a series of plastic cassettes that will help house a critical medical solution used in testing for Covid-19.

AusDiagnostics approached Protolabs to see if it could injection mould 500 sample parts, a challenge that was immediately picked up by the Shropshire-based on-demand manufacturer.

The first CAD drawings were not fit for manufacture so were quickly updated and the right material specified, with production now underway with parts set to shipped by April 9th.”

MTA publishes update on Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (RMVS)

3D printing should be considered as one tool among many in response to COVID-19. Our focus at 3DPI for the past eight years is, of course, additive manufacturing, but we are not blind to efforts using and combining manufacturing methods. The UK’s Manufacturing Technology Association has provided an update about how significant UK industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, has come together to produce medical ventilators for the UK. Six UK based race teams are also involved in the push.

“Over the past week the consortium has been working hard to investigate production of a range of ventilator design options to meet a high-level specification for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (“RMVS”) developed by clinicians and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (“MHRA”). The consortium has evaluated all requirements to design, manufacture, assemble and test components, as well as finished medical ventilators. 

Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from the Government in excess of 10,000 units. The consortium will now accelerate production of an agreed new design, based on existing technologies, which can be assembled from materials and parts in current production. The device combines existing proven clinical equipment and is the clinicians’ first choice for the RMVS. The regulator has been involved throughout and we anticipate a straightforward and very prompt regulatory sign off after the final audit. The consortium is now working at full speed to take the necessary steps in order to increase production of this design. Production will begin this week.” 

James Selka, CEO of the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), which has supported the development of the supply chain for the project, said in support: “We warmly welcome the fact that such a wide ranging consortium of UK engineering companies has, at this time of national emergency,  been able to work so quickly to produce ventilators urgently needed for use in our NHS. The MTA has been delighted that our members, who supply critical technology to manufacturers, have been so ready to help this vital national effort.”

The VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium is chaired by Dick Elsy, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. Companies and Groups involved include: Airbus, BAE Systems. Ford Motor Company, GKN Aerospace , High Value Manufacturing Catapult, nspiration Healthcare Group, Meggitt, Penlon, Renishaw, Rolls-Royce, Siemens Healthineers and Siemens UK, Smiths Group,Thales, Ultra Electronics, and Unilever. Also involved in the effort are UK-based F1 teams: Haas F1, McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, Racing Point, Renault Sport Racing, and Williams.  

Xometry posts update on COVID-19 projects

Bill Cronin, Chief Revenue Officer, said. “Xometry is working on a wide range of COVID-related projects including temperature measurement devices, masks, visors, biospray sanitation and ventilator parts. With our 3,000+ partner manufacturing network across 46 states, we’re uniquely positioned to help new and existing customers rapidly scale production in this time of need.” 

Xometry also provided 3D Printing Industry with updates on other initiatives at the company:

“Helping a contactless temperature measurement device company build housings to enable more people to take their temperature without coming into physical contact with medical professionals. 

Working with an engineering company to 3D print parts for a general purpose shield/visor for frontline medical workers.

Making parts for a company that makes biospray systems used to sanitize medical environments.

Quickly ramping up production for a company that makes ventilator parts to help them deal with increased demand.

Establishing a COVID-19 page including open-source files for download and a form for those in the medical industry to fill out to reach our team.”

Finally, the company highlights, “We are open for business and the vast majority of the 3,000+ US-based manufacturing partners in our network remain in operation.”


America Makes begins next phase of COVID-19 response

America Makes is the national accelerator for the additive manufacturing industry serving to connect and coordinate industry, academia and a range of government and non-government agencies. As such, the organization is well placed to match needs with capacity during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We have seen so much innovation throughout the additive manufacturing industry related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John Wilczynski, Executive Director of America Makes. “The question we’ve repeatedly been asked is ‘are these products safe and reliable in a health care setting?’ The design portion of the repository seeks to put clarity around that question for both manufacturers and providers. We believe it is a critical part to allowing the additive industry to effectively meet the needs of front line health care workers.” 

After an earlier call to partners, America Makes has now launched the follow-up phase to its COVID-19 Health Care Needs and Additive Manufacturing (AM) Capabilities Response. Manufacturers can make use of the America Makes COVID-19 design form to upload 3D printable designs where after review they will be placed on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 3D Print Exchange. 

Designs submitted in this manner will be. placed in a fast track workflow for faster review. Designs not submitted through the America Makes process may not be considered for the fast track workflow.  All designs will be publicly accessible through the NIH 3D Print Exchange website with their designation.”

The NIH 3D Print Exchange site is available here.

Weerg 3D printing Isinnova/FabLab Brescia designed emergency respirator mask valves 

The health crisis caused by COVID-19 has led to emergency solutions that under normal circumstances would not be considered. One such approach is the conversion of French sportswear and goods manufacturer Decathlon’s snorkeling mask into an emergency, last resort respirator using a 3D printed valve.

Weerg is an Italian 3D printing and CNC service provider. Matteo Rigamonti, Weerg founder said, “Thanks to the technologies we have, which ensure precision, repeatability and speed for print runs that reach thousands of pieces, we are able to produce parts of medical instruments that are needed in this moment of emergency in record time.”

“We contacted Isinnova, whom we thank for the initiative, and in one day, thanks to our HP Multi Jet Fusion 5210 printers, we were able to supply them with a part of the 500 necessary valves made of PA12 Nylon, a material compatible with this health application.”

“We have 50 quintals of PA12 Nylon for 3D printing solutions, that can help our country cope with this dramatic situation. This is why we are sending e-mails to healthcare companies to which we will reserve symbolic prices, sufficient to cover the costs of materials,” said Rigamonti.

Weerg has 3D printers that can make, “a series of up to 5,000 pieces out of thermoplastic materials such as Nylon PA11 and Nylon PA12.” The first batch of 3D printed valves will be delivered to the Brescia Civil Protection group for distribution.

Isinnova highlights this aspect of the emergency response, “These emergency masks are not certified for health facilities but can be used when there is a lack of official health supplies, such as the C-PAP maks used in sub-intensive care. Although this solution is currently an uncertified biomedical device, we are already getting confirmation from hospitals that it is proving extremely useful in the absence of anything else.”

The Isinnova design and Weerg 3D printed valves. Photo via Weerg.
The Isinnova design and Weerg 3D printed valves. Photo via Weerg.

DLR uses expertise and 3D printing capacity to make medical equipment

DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt),the German Aerospace Center, is the country’s space agency. The organization has reported that it will be using its 3D printing capacity to produce medical equipment in conjunction with it’s Systemhaus Technik.

DLR has “succeeded in conducting tests with components based on freely available templates and with plastics approved for use in the medical sector.”  Certification and approval of the products produced by DLR for medical use is in progress. Systemhaus Technik is making its experience in converting 3D printers available to other scientific institutions.

“The most powerful printers at DLR can produce up to 10 protective masks or 15 valves for ventilators per day. By networking institutes and facilities, it will be possible to produce larger quantities,” stated DLR.

Azul3D to produce 1,000 3D printed face shields daily on prototype system

Based in Chicago, Azul3D is the manufacturer of the High-Area Rapid Printing (HARP) 3D printing system that was initially developed at Northwestern University.

David Walker, CTO and co-founder, explained,  “Our technology is like nothing else in the marketplace and we’re committed to using it for this essential cause. By rapidly printing face shields and potentially other critical components, we’re ready to take on this fight to slow the impact of Coronavirus. We have an opportunity to assist our healthcare workers as they face unprecedented challenges, by taking advantage of our great team and the technology we have developed.”

Running the Azul3D prototype HARP 3D printer around the clock will result in 1,000 face shields produced daily. 

HARP was announced in October 2019.  Chad Mirkin, Chairman of the Board, said, “Even fleets of 3D printers are having difficulty meeting demand for face shields because the need is so enormous. But HARP is so fast and powerful that we can put a meaningful dent in that demand.”

The 13-foot tall 3D printer has a 2.5 square foot print bed, “that can print about half a yard in an hour.” In the coming months, the company aims to reach a goal of 20,000 face shields per week.

Azul3D is working with a local manufacturing company that will produce the laser-cut clear plastic shields which attach to the 3D printed headband. Importantly a third partner will provide sanitization and packaging services for the assembled face shields.  

Y Soft 3D printing 500 face shields daily

Enterprise office solutions provider Y Soft is currently producing around 500 of the shields per day.  

In the UK, Y soft is currently supplying three hospitals with the face shields: University Hospital Bristol, Devon Partnership NHS Trust, and UHCW NHS Trust.

“The world was not prepared for the current situation. While we cannot handle massive production, it turns out that everyone can voluntarily contribute their own efforts. That’s why we got involved as a company. Our office workers around the world also use affordable 3D printers to print protective equipment for healthcare professionals. It is a way to help people in hospitals. I’m extremely proud of how YSofters have come together to do this kind of work without prompting from anyone. We are in this together, “said Y Soft founder Václav Muchna.

“Our manufacturing isn’t outfitted for ongoing mass production, but clearly a little bit from everyone can help. We see the contribution as a small and simple step to helping the global pandemic.”


Panic printing or Coronamoaner? How best to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Editor-in-chief of 3D Printing Industry, I receive a not insubstantial volume of press releases daily. In the past months, many of these releases include Coronavirus of COVID-19 in the subject line. My news feeds, direct messages and social media and timelines are also full of initiatives to tackle the crisis deploying a range of 3D printing technologies. Regular private conversations with others in our industry reveal an inordinate amount of activity that enterprises are undertaking, where publicity is a distant final thought. 

Filtering out the noise is part of a journalist’s job. Fact-checking and responsible reporting are part of our everyday work. In extraordinary times it can be argued there is an even greater responsibility to readers. Panic printing is the rush to do something, almost anything will do, in the current crisis. Like panic buying, there is a psychological need to take back control when faced by what can seem uncontrollable. If everybody else is doing something, so the rationale goes, I should be doing “something” also. This urge can be hard to resist.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Coronamoaner, an extreme case of over-caution that halts ideas in their tracks or overly disparages well-meaning efforts. In the main, I shy away from over-editorializing or providing unsolicited opinions in this publication. News items that do not pass fact and sense checking will be notable by their absence, and I am generally averse to engaging in back and forth arguments on social media. 

As with everything in life, balance is vital. On the whole, with a few notable exceptions, the AM sector and 3D printing industry have been measured in response to Coronavirus. The engineers, biomedical experts, and leaders are all too aware of the potential for damage. Damage not only the reputation of their companies and wider industry but also, most importantly, the risk of harming a person through the provision of neglectful information, advice, or 3D printing components. I hope this will continue.

EOS launches platform to share scientific information and leverage global network

EOS is a world-leader in additive manufacturing and well-positioned to give perspective on the AM sectors approach. On a newly launched platform the company writes, “We know 3D printing is not accessible to everyone – especially industrial-grade additive manufacturing technologies. To make sure you receive safe and valuable content that meets medical standards, our medical experts screened all the material beforehand. Let’s do what our technology teaches us to do: think differently. Let’s push the boundaries of what is possible. Let’s join forces to provide treatment and care for everyone.”

The 3D Printing Against Corona platform has a selection of 3D printable files and links to scientific research relevant to COVID-19 and Coronavirus. EOS is keen to point out the focus should not be on them, and notably, the 3D Printing Against Corona platform has links to the websites of other companies in the 3D printing industry. Collaboration is frequently used term during keynote speeches and across the industry and it is great to see EOS standing by its commitment to working together in the AM world.

Marie Langer, CEO of EOS, said, “Improving people’s lives with the help of 3D printing has always been our aspiration. The current pandemic now calls for a joint approach, more than ever before. Today, we are asking all supporters to join us in tackling the challenges that lay ahead of us. Let’s do what our technology is enabling us for: Let’s think differently and push the boundaries of what is possible.”

“We are extremely proud to work alongside so many brilliant minds inside and outside of EOS who are developing and delivering critical solutions for those in need.”

3D Systems updates status of COVID-19 initiatives and releases face shield frame design

3D Systems is another leader in the AM sector and has also demonstrated a measured response. Through the U.S company’s website updates on ongoing projects – and whether the projects are still going. The latest update is from March 30th and reproduced below. Readers should visit the live site for the latest information. Notable here, and reflecting an increasing consensus across the 3D printing industry is the comment about 3D printing face masks. “We do not recommend 3D printing of N95 compliant surgical masks and respirators without proper testing,” reads the 3D Systems website.

3D Systems Coronavirus update 30th March. Image via 3D Systems.
3D Systems Coronavirus update 30th March. Image via 3D Systems.

3D printable face shield frames, however, are an area where many across the industry are active. 3D Systems has made such a design for a 3D printed face shield frame available.

The company notes, “This is manufactured from a medical-grade material, and the file is optimized for high-density AM – meaning many can be printed simultaneously to help address the growing demand.

Further information on the 3D Systems page reads: 

“We have designed a face shield frame that is: A downloadable file to enable local production using any Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) Printer; Optimized for high-density nesting;

Made of medical-grade nylon that is autoclavable and compatible with disinfectant cleaners

Comfortable due to its flexible, non-rigid, form-fitting design; Compatible with bonnets and bouffants for protection of the forehead and eyes due to the retention tabs”.

The site continues, “This face shield frame has been manufactured using medical-grade nylon on our SLS ProX 6100 machine. The design is a two-part flat-pack design that will clip into each other to provide structure while minimizing material usage and maximizing the density of parts that can be manufactured on an SLS machine. At least 400 pairs of parts can fit in a build. They can be disassembled for cleaning.” Visit 3D Systems for more information.

3YOURMIND gives update on COVID-19 response and work with TUV SUD

3YOURMIND writes, “We have COVID-response up and running now and already 40 service providers offering their services. We are doing the first prints now with Helios Clinic in Berlin and we want to make sure we can get the word out over the next few days to hospitals and clinics, especially smaller institutions that don’t have people they can spare to validate 3D parts to get access to the service providers and help from Tüv Süd or our team on selection questions.”

As previously reported, 3YOURMIND launched a COVID-19 response platform with a three-pronged approach. The platform has digital inventory of 3D parts that have “been culled and minimize risk for doctors who choose to use them”. The second part is a “submission system for new parts” which links to an evaluation system. The final part of the response is an ordering platform to “match hospitals, clinics, suppliers of medical equipment with 3D printing services and additive manufacturing departments in OEMs who have offered to allocate their production for medical goods.”

More information about the COVID response platform is available here.

3YOURMIND infographic showing summary of the project. Image via 3YOURMIND
3YOURMIND infographic showing summary of the project. Image via 3YOURMIND

Paragon Rapid Technologies to produce 5000 face shields for NHS workers

The UK’s Paragon Rapid Technologies together with enabling technology from RPS and a design from Carbon are 3D printing face shields for NHS frontline staff in North East England hospitals.

Paragon has a range of 3D printers including three RPS NEO800 stereolithography systems, selective laser sintering, and three Carbon M2 Digital Light Synthesis 3D printers. The face shields will be 3D printed using DSM Somos resin on two of the RPS systems. The company will 3D print and assemble 5,000 face shields for hospitals in the North East, including those in the South Tyneside and Sunderland Trust and the James Cook University Hospital. 

Paragon’s Managing Director, Neil Cook said, “We’re extremely grateful to our suppliers for responding so quickly. We collectively have the technology and the capability to help protect our NHS heroes, and we’ll keep producing the visors for as long as they are needed. Without RPS contributing to the print load, we could not possibly achieve this. Our hearts go out to all those affected. To all others, please stay safe.”

David Storey, Managing Director of RPS, added, “I am honoured that Paragon contacted us to help manufacture face shields for the NHS, and that they are utilising our technology, the NEO800 3D Printers. As a printer manufacturer here in the UK we are well placed to help. We have set aside a development machine to print components for the face shields to assist Paragon’s production capacity. Any little difference we can make to help the NHS save lives is important to us and we are grateful to be working with Paragon to achieve this.”


The response of the 3D printing industry to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impress me. Compiling this daily update, I see so many initiatives and eagerness to help but this was really brought home to me by an email waiting for me this morning. Overnight, I received a request from a hospital seeking urgent assistance with production of visors. After sharing the call with five 3D printing businesses in the same region as the hospital, I saw a positive reply from all five within minutes. This makes me prouder than ever to be part of the industry.

ZMorph 3D printing face shields

3D printing headbands for face shields has become one of the most notable ways the industry is helping. Protective gear for frontline health workers is in scare supply and the global spread of 3D printing enterprises are well-positioned to manufacture certain devices at a local level.

Poland’s ZMorph is doing just that. Eliza Wróbel, Product Manager at ZMorph, explains, “As a manufacturer of 3D printers we’ve decided to help the community with the fight against coronavirus by utilizing our machine park and supporting local projects. Our machines are 3D printing as many face shield parts as possible to supply hospitals around Wroclaw. Hopefully, doctors and nurses won’t run out of protective gear and can safely treat their patients with coronavirus.”  

The G-code files used by ZMorph were provided by Wrocław University of Science and Technology. Working with 500 people and using a local Facebook group ZMorph is supplying hospitals in Wroclaw and the local area.

New face shield design underway

I received information today about a new initiative that hopes to increase the production of face shields. According to the company involved in the project, details are not yet public, the new design will allow a producer who could previously make 100 face shield per day to make 4,000 in the same amount of time. I will post more on the project when more details are available.

Photocentric will produce face shields in quantities of “tens of thousands” 

An initiative by the UK’s Photocentric, makers of the Liquid Crystal range of LCD resin systems, demonstrates how higher throughput is possible. 

The company says each Photocentri Magna 3D printer can 3D print 135 shield parts in 40 minutes, this gives a total of 4860 pieces per day for each Liquid Crystal Magna printer. 

Earlier this week Photocentric shipped the first batch of 200 face shields to an NHS trust in the UK.

More information is available here.

Stratasys sponsors CoVent-19 Challenge to develop mechanical ventilator

Stratasys is sponsoring an eight-week hackathon to develop a rapidly deployable mechanical ventilator. Launched by a group of Boston based non-profit leaders and anesthesiology resident physicians, the CoVent-19 Challenge launched on April 1st 2020 and the first round will run until May 1st 2020.

Dr. Richard Boyer, founder and director of the CoVent-19 Challenge. “As anesthesiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital, we are experts at using ventilators to care for critically ill patients, so it was natural for us to feel an immediate calling to do something about the ventilator shortage. We’ve been watching as countries around the world struggle with providing invasive mechanical ventilation to all who need it. Despite the important efforts by ventilator manufacturers to ramp up their own production, there’s a need for a solution particularly for areas where standard mechanical ventilators may be hard to obtain.”

The challenge will be hosted on the GrabCAD website where further information is available. In total a prize fund valued at $10,000 in Stratasys Direct Manufacturing credits is available. 

Northwell Health uses 3D printed adapter to convert BiPAP machines into ventilators

Northwell Health is New York’s largest healthcare provider with more than 68,000 employees. The healthcare network has turned to 3D printing to prepare for an expected surge in patients and manage the shortage of mechanical ventilators. 

Northwell explains, “BiPAP is one type of PAP, or positive airway pressure, non-invasive machine that is commonly used to maintain a consistent breathing pattern at night or during symptom flare-ups in people with sleep apnea, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a chronic inflammatory lung disease.”

The BiPAP machine is more widely available than ventilators, so a team led by Hugh Cassiere MD has developed an adaptor to convert the Philips Respironics V60 BiPAP machine into a pressure-controlled ventilator for both patients with and without COVID-19 induced lung disease.

Dr. Cassiere said. “Our hospitals are at the US epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, and some of our COVID-19 patients require intensive care unit therapy and mechanical ventilators within minutes of being hospitalized. I knew we could develop a way to repurpose and convert these machines to save hundreds of lives.”

“We were able to imitate the design of the T-piece adapter and print the plastic-resin piece with our 3D printers,” said Todd Goldstein, PhD, director of 3D Design and Innovation at Northwell Health. “If the need arises, we would be able to print 150 adaptors in 24-hours.”

Northwell Health team and the 3D printed adaptor. Photo via Northwell Health.
Northwell Health team and the 3D printed adaptor. Photo via Northwell Health.


Avi Reichental and Fried Vancrean comment on 3D printing efforts, warn against 3D printing masks

The response to the pandemic from the AM/3DP world has, on the whole, been pragmatic, measured and meaningful. Many projects are public, at 3D Printing Industry we also hear about many private initiatives where people are hard at work behind the scenes. Sharing information and working together as an industry is important at this time. But we should also be mindful of the risks. With this in mind, 3D Printing Industry journalist Anas Essop asked Avi Reichental, founder and CEO Xponential Works, and Fried Vancraen, founder and CEO Materialise what they think about 3D printed face masks from the maker community? And what can this group do to help if not print face masks?

“In the medical field all the regulatory oversight is there for a reason,” said Reichental. “As an industry, we can help the regulators move faster.”

On 3D printed face masks Reichental said, “When we get into the kind of the N95 category of masks. I think we have to be really careful to make sure that we’re not creating confusion, and that we work, you know, with experts and with the regulators to find ways in which 3D printing can make a difference.”

The Materialise CEO said, “There is a category of meaningful applications, as we call them that are very suited for collaborative efforts. There are products that can be printed on the half a million to a million 3D printers that are present across the world”. Vancraen highlights face shields and the door openers that can be made on home 3D printers. The door opener, that came from an internal need at  Materialise, has now been downloaded over 50,000 times.  

Regarding 3D printed face masks, Vancraen answered with his characteristic honesty, “Here I admit a failure.” After a design effort was started at Materialise to assess the suitability of 3D printing facemasks the company concluded that masks are not suitable for 3D printing. Materialise looked at every design on the internet they could find, “If it would have been better we would have produced it,” said Vancraen. Materialise is instead focusing on efforts where it can provide genuine help, and also sharing files with other manufacturers who hold the ISO 13,000 certification and have a history of making these kinds of parts.

Reichental also noted, that while 3D printing is useful in bridging a short-term supply chain gap it is unlikely to be the long term solution for producing protective equipment. “I don’t see these applications as long-lived, eventually the traditional supply chain will kick in.”  However, “It shows the power of an emergency response and a community.”

Solvay working with Boeing to produce COVID-19 face shields

So far, the standout 3D print seems to be the face shield head band for protecting front line health workers. We have reported on the numerous companies in our industry producing this equipment. Previously, we have touched upon how supplies for a critical component, the non-3D printed transparent visor, are under pressure. 

Made from a transparent film, the visor attaches to the 3D printed headband to offer a degree of protection to the wearers and is used in conjunction with a face mask. Boeing is one enterprise using it’s manufacturing capacity to make face shields and has turned to Solvay to ensure the supply of transparent film does not run out. Solvay’s Ajedium Films business will use medical-grade Radel polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) or Udel polysulfone (PSU), two transparent specialty polymers widely used for medical devices because of their ability to be sterilized and withstand aggressive disinfectants.

“We are honored to bring our product expertise to our customers in this time of crisis,” explains Jeff Hrivnak, healthcare global business development manager for Solvay Specialty Polymers. “Boeing is rising to the occasion by providing more durable, face shields now in critical demand for our heroic healthcare workers, and we are proud to help make that possible.”

More information about Solvay is available here.

A face shield 3D printed by Solvay. Photo via Solvay.
A face shield 3D printed by Solvay. Photo via Solvay.

AON3D donates hundreds of 3D printed face masks to Montreal General Hospital

McGill University in Montreal Canada approached local 3D printer manufacturers, AON3D to help with the demand for protective equipment. The developers of high-end AM systems have produced the first batch and now plan to deliver 10,000 more in the coming week.

Dr. Avinash Sinha, an anesthesiologist at the McGill University Health Centre, said, “Although we currently have an inventory of protective equipment, we worry that consumption will outstrip supply and deliveries. If, like in Italy, the need for PPE doubles every three days for three weeks, then we will need about 130 times more PPE per day in 3 weeks compared to what we needed on day one.”

AON3D adapted the face shield design from the work initially done at Georgia Tech. The revised design, published as open-source, was modified to allow for easier fit of the visor and to boost compatibility with both AM and medium volume manufacturing methods, for example, laser cutting. The design files and instructions are available here.

AON3D CEO Kevin Han, said. “Our healthcare workers are the frontline heroes in this global crisis. I can’t properly express the pride I’ve felt seeing some of our employees pulling unprompted 24 hour shifts to ensure the fleet of 3D printers at our headquarters is producing PPE to help flatten the COVID-19 curve, and protect those who protect us. We are working to rapidly ramp up capacity so we can produce more face shields to support more healthcare workers across the country.”

To support AON3D or request face shields, you can contact the company here.

AON3D 3D printing face shields. Photo via McGill University.
AON3D 3D printing face shields. Photo via McGill University.


In the first Coronavirus news round-up of the new week, we take a look at how manufacturers, vendors and research centers across the world are rising to the COVID-19 challenge. There is also a display of further solidarity from companies in Asia, regions where Coronavirus took an early hold. Notably, Creality3D, Snapmaker, eSun, Shining3D, and INTAMSYS have all stepped up to donate (non-3D printed) face masks to business partners across the world. 

These actions are very welcome and demonstrate further how as a truly global community people are pulling together in these times. 

Protolabs 3D prints 3,000 parts for ventilator manufacturer

Protolabs has reported the fulfillment of a “critical order” for a ventilator manufacturer. The first set of 3,000 SLA 3D printed components was produced by a USA facility of the global on-demand manufacturing company. On Twitter, the company said, “We just expedited our first set of 3,000 3D-printed parts going toward the fight of COVID-19. These SLA parts are fulfilling a critical order for a ventilator manufacturer requiring high strength & accuracy in its components.”

Renishaw uses manufacturing capacity to produce critical components for ventilators

UK-HQ’d Renishaw is a British engineering firm known for its measurement and additive manufacturing systems. The expertise and machine tools at Renishaw have now been put to use in the fight against COVID-19, specifically in the production of ventilator components. 

Marc Saunders, Director of Group Strategic Development at Renishaw, writes, “Every ventilator produced is a life saved at Renishaw we are proud to be playing our part in this vital endeavour.”

Saunders adds, “Renishaw is mass-producing critical components for medical ventilators, as part of a nationwide effort to support the NHS in the fight against Covid-19. We have dedicated a significant part of our manufacturing sites in Gloucestershire and South Wales to produce precision-machined components for two different ventilators manufactured by the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium for Penlon Ltd and Smiths Medical, with production now running seven days a week. This follows a huge effort from our project, manufacturing engineering and production teams over the last two weeks.”

Production at Renishaw is now running seven days a week. “When the government called, we scrambled to respond, and immediately realised the daunting scale of the challenge. Ventilators are sophisticated medical devices and we felt that our capabilities would be best applied to helping scale up the production of designs with existing technologies. We soon realised that many other industrial companies were thinking the same way and that we would need our combined capacity and capabilities to achieve this enormous endeavour.”

Dick Elsy, CEO of the High-Value Manufacturing Catapult, gave further details, “Penlon and Smiths ordinarily have combined capacity of between 50 and 60 ventilators per week. However, thanks to the scale and resources of the wider consortium, we are targeting production of at least 1,500 units a week of the Penlon and Smiths models combined within a matter of weeks. Ventilators are intricate and highly complex pieces of medical equipment and it is vital that we balance the twin imperatives of speed of delivery with the absolute adherence to regulatory standards that is needed to ensure patient safety.”

Further information is available here.

iMakr issues updates on COVID-19 response and thanks business partners for donations

In a statement issued by 3D printer reseller iMakr, the company provides an update on the print farms deployed in London and New York to combat Coronavirus. The company has delivered 1,500 face shields already and expects to produce a further 5,000 in the coming week.

“iMakr is devoting its resources and knowledge in 3D technology – designing, scanning, and printing – to assist the cause in the United States and Europe, mainly in London and Paris.

Initiatives already in action:

A new facility has been set up in Brooklyn, New York for printing facial protection equipment to support the caregivers helping infected patients.

Due to this action, we have already supplied our first batches of face shields to St.Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn and New York Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital Center.

Currently, we are producing 500+ face shields a day on our 100 printers and increasing our production volume to meet the overwhelming needs of hospitals in New York.

We have been able to quickly build a printing farm of 200+ machines in London to help fight the virus by making protective masks for hospitals in the London area. We have also added a dedicated set of machines and engineers/designers to assess the possibilities of producing other urgently needed devices like Decathlon snorkelling mask valves, respirator splitters and more.”

The company has also received donations of PPE from a range of business partners, and is distributing this equipment. The donations include:

Creality3D: 1000 pcs N95 masks, 200 masks adjustor

Snapmaker: 1000 pcs N95 masks

eSun: 1000 pcs surgical masks, 100 masks adjustor, 50 spools of ABS + filament

Shining3D: 1000 pcs surgical masks

Intamsys: 1000 pcs surgical masks 

The iMakr team writes, “We would like to warmly thank [our business partners] for their solidarity.”

I-Form 3D prints face shields for health workers in Ireland

Dublin based I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, has applied its expertise in AM to produce PPE for local health workers.

Dr. Andrew Dickson, a postdoctoral researcher at I-Form said, “Myself and my colleagues at I-Form and UCD spent all weekend in our lab, taking it in shifts to ensure social distancing, and by Sunday night we had produced 300 face shields for Tallaght University Hospital.”

“Working as a team, we took existing designs and optimised them to produce one part every 17 minutes. We are continuing this work and, as of today, we have produced and donated 600 face shields to frontline staff across Dublin.”

Professor Denis Dowling, Director, I-Form, said, “Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is a highly adaptable technology that can be quickly harnessed to meet an immediate need. It enables local production at a relatively low cost. As an SFI Research Centre, we are doing what we can to use our manufacturing expertise and infrastructure to help protect healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 on the frontline.”

Other areas under investigation by researchers at I-Form include the production of protective goggles and ventilator-related technological aids. 

Assembled face shields in the I-Form lab at UCD. Photo via I-Form.
Assembled face shields in the I-Form lab at UCD. Photo via I-Form.

University of Liverpool uses 3D printing and laser cutting to produce protective visors

Engineers at the University of Liverpool are using their expertise in 3D printing and laser cutting technologies to produce protective visors for use by local hospitals.

The protective visors, developed in conjunction with NHS staff at local hospitals (including the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Broadgreen Hospital, Aintree University Hospital, and Southport & Ormskirk Hospital Trust), use a hybrid design approach with a laser-cut top section and a 3D printed bottom section. Laser cutting technology reduces the production process significantly from six hours to half an hour and local industry is helping to scale up production further.

Staff and PhD students, based in the University’s Active Learning Laboratory, are using their technical facilities and expertise to produce an initial batch of 50 to 100 protective visors per day, with the intention of increasing this to 300 per day over the coming weeks. 

The protective visors will be delivered to three hospitals in the local region in the next few days with other local hospitals soon to follow suit.

Dr. Kate Black, an expert in additive manufacturing at the University of Liverpool, said: “Thanks to 3D printing and laser cutting technology, our team of engineers have been able to design a protective visor that can be produced in about half an hour. We have worked closely with our local NHS hospitals on the design and now that they are happy with it our dedicated team of staff and PhD students from the university are ready to start production so that we can help protect our health services staff at this time of extraordinary need.”

Dr. Paul Fitzsimmons, deputy medical director at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “I’d like to thank Dr. Black and her team for all their amazing work in designing and producing these visors and not only getting them to our hospitals so quickly but for sharing the information required to make them with colleagues across the UK and help hospitals access more of the equipment they need in the fight against coronavirus.”

Professor Louise Kenny, Executive Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented global challenge, and staff and students across our Faculties and Departments here at the University of Liverpool are coming together in all sorts of ways to provide their expertise, facilities, and innovation to manage, mitigate, and eventually stop this virus.”


Leitat1 3D printed ventilator approved by Spain’s Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices

An accredited field respirator will now be available after Agencia Española del Medicamento (Spain’s Agency of Medicines and Medical Devices) has given approval to the Leitat1. 

The Leitat1 was developed by Consorci de la Zona Franca (CZFB), HP and Leitat together with CatSalut, through the Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa (CST) and the Hospital Parc Taulí de Sabadell. Designed by Leitat senior engineer, Magí Galindo, with medical supervisor from a team led by  Dr. Lluís Blanch, from Parc Taulí de Sabadell, the initial prototype now incorporates volumetric sensors, pressure sensors or oxygen alarms, among other aspects, to facilitate its use by healthcare personnel and guarantee its functionality for a longer period of time in the assisted breathing of serious patients with coronavirus. The latest version is Leitat1.3.

With medical approval granted, a clinical trial can now get underway. The first phase will include Parc Taulí de Sabadell, Vall d’Hebrón, Hospital del Mar, Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa and Hospital General de Granollers) under the coordination of Dr. Ricard Ferrer (Dir. UCI Vall d’Hebrón).

Approval of the device required testing conducted by Applus. 

The compact respirator is constructed from 3D printed components, made using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology. It is calculated that daily production of 50 units is possible. The cost will be ten times lower than a conventional respirator. 

Following review by health authorities, production will be scaled up. The parts will be printed with CZFB’s infrastructure and HP’s production equipment, with the support of the 3D Factory Incubator and the 3D Hub (IAM3DHUB). BSH Electrodomésticos España has also joined the project, and contacts are being maintained with others such as Airbus with whom knowledge and technical capacities are being shared for the development of the project in what will end up being a new version of the ventilator (Leitat2.0).

The respirator Leitat1 (@respira_leitatX) has received various contributions from both individuals and companies (including those of Cellnex, Almirall and Colegio Oficial de Médicos de Barcelona- CoMB) and its promoters are coordinating various collaborations with other similar projects both nationally and internationally.

An intubated patient using the new field respirator, Leitat 1.3. Photo via IAM3DHUB.
An intubated patient using the new field respirator, Leitat 1.3. Photo via IAM3DHUB.

Materialise develops 3D printed oxygen PEEP mask 

With the widely reported shortage of ventilators, initiatives to address this need are underway across the globe. Well-known and respected enterprise Materialise has used the decades of experience in medical 3D printing to develop a 3D printed connector that it hopes will be available to hospitals by mid-April.

The company writes, “Around the world, hospitals are looking for medical equipment capable of delivering air with added oxygen to treat critically ill coronavirus patients. Currently this treatment is carried out using mechanical ventilators, which are critically under-supplied. As a result, clinicians today are exploring different methods to apply positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) to the lungs of COVID 19 patients without the use of a ventilator.”

“Materialise has developed a solution to deliver oxygen and create high positive pressure without the use of a ventilator. A 3D printed connector converts standard equipment already available in most hospitals into a  non-invasive PEEP mask (NIP) that can be connected to the oxygen supply (to facilitate breathing for coronavirus patients). This solution gives patients an extended period of time before mechanical ventilators are required for treatment, and helps transition them off ventilators earlier, freeing up these devices for patients in critical need. By using standard medical equipment, including a non-invasive ventilation (NIV) mask, a filter and a PEEP valve, the solution is simple and familiar to use for medical professionals.”

“3D printing is playing a crucial role in fighting the global coronavirus pandemic by making it possible to develop innovative solutions and have them available worldwide very quickly,” said Brigitte De Vet, Vice President of Materialise Medical. “At the same time, it is crucial that the medical products we put on the market are safe and effective. Materialise has decades of experience in certified medical 3D printing which allows us to bring 3D printed devices to the market quickly and safely.”

Meanwhile, the 3D printing company is upscaling its production capability to make the solution available broadly and quickly to hospitals that are looking for an emergency solution. The Materialise NIP Connectors will be manufactured at the company’s ISO 13485 certified facilities in Belgium and Plymouth, Michigan and on-site 3D printing facilities of qualified partners. Materialise is looking for partners to get this solution to as many patients as possible.

The Materialise 3D printed non invasive PEEP mask. Photo via Materialise.
The Materialise 3D printed non invasive PEEP mask. Photo via Materialise.
The 3D printed NIP solution. Photo via Materialise.
The 3D printed NIP solution. Photo via Materialise.

3D Systems provides Materials Technology Overview Chart

Drawing on the experience gained in 3D printing almost 1 million medical devices, 3D Systems has published a chart that provides an overview of 3D printable materials on its SLA and SLS additive manufacturing systems. 

The company writes, “We’ve seen concerns expressed regarding medical devices being created using materials that are not biocompatible. For all medical devices, 3D Systems complies with guidance from the FDA – testing the safety and efficacy of all devices. Recently, the FDA has issued several emergency use authorizations for things such as PPE for healthcare providers that are allowing companies to get clearance more quickly than previously possible. Additionally, FDA, VA, America Makes & CDC have all published guidance and 3D Systems is collaborating with all these organizations in our response efforts.”

The 3D Systems Materials Technology Overview chart was prepared to identify “printer-material combinations for which either Class VI and/or ISO 10993 certifications are possible, including potential solutions to applications in emergency situations though the materials are not Class VI and/or ISO 10993 certified and customers should conduct their own testing to determine whether certification is possible.”

A PDF of the 3D Systems Materials Technology Overview is available here.

Fast Radius plans to 3D print 10,000 face shields daily

Chicago’s Fast Radius has redesigned the face shield headband to make “production and use more affordable and sustainable” on its fleet of HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers. 

The company has already shipped 1,500 face shield kits, and is ramping up production to make up to 10,000 a day. Fast Radius also is donating 250 face shield kits to Swedish Hospital in Chicago.

“The global crisis demands a rapid response by the manufacturing industry, and Fast Radius is working with other companies and medical professionals to answer the call,” said Fast Radius CEO and founder Lou Rassey. “Recent innovations in industrial additive manufacturing have increased our flexibility and response time, and we’re putting those to use for the public good.”

More information about the Fast Radius response is available here.

The Fast Radius face shield. Image via Fast Radius.
The Fast Radius face shield. Image via Fast Radius.

Face shield 3D printing efforts from Omni3D

Krzysztof Kardach, Chief Technician at Omni3D explains, “We print face shield parts in Factory 2.0 and Omni500 LITE using ABS-42 filament, thanks to which it is possible to increase the printing speed.” 

At present Omni3D is 3D printing 120 face shields daily. Technicians are working on increasing the capacity to 150 units. 

Ricoh 3D plans production of 40,000 face shields per week

Based in Telford, UK, Ricoh 3D has both 3D printing and injection molding systems. The company says that it will be using its capacity to produce 40,000 face shields on a weekly basis to meet the demand for PPE. 

The company’s 150-tonne injection molding machine will be doing the bulk of the work. “3D printing and injection moulding are the perfect technologies in the fight against COVID-19, allowing us to maintain full production while keeping our staff safe by having only one to two people on site. It’s true lights-out manufacturing,” said Mark Dickin, Additive Manufacturing & Moulding Specialist at Ricoh 3D.

An estimated 150,000 face shields are used daily in London alone during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Dickin explains, “Our site is uniquely set up to take a product from concept to prototype to serial production, and that is exactly what we have done here in a very short timeframe. This really is testimony to the strength of our supplier relations and the cross-functional team who made it happen so quickly. Local suppliers for the foam, elastic strapping and visor components have come forward across our production print, design solutions and quality assurance networks.”

“We were seeing reports of nurses faces being cut and bruised by their existing protective equipment. Our frontline workers are battling enough already, without having to tend to sore and swollen faces at the end of a 12-hour shift. We knew our Polypropylene material was ideally suited for the job with its flexible, lightweight, watertight and fatigue resistant nature. Given its comparable properties to injection moulding, we had no doubts that this was the right material to support the transition to full moulded production.”

Jason Pott, Lead Research Nurse for Emergency Medicine at The Royal London Hospital, said: “In our tests, staff commented on the comfort of Ricoh’s solution over existing equipment. We tested across a range of male and female staff in the emergency department with different head shapes, hairstyles and head scarves – everyone was happy with the fit. Innovations like this help staff in the NHS to remain safe while caring for those in need.”

More information is available here.

Anisoprint offers to 3D print parts for free

The initial focus of the many in the 3D printing industry is on bridging a break in the supply chain to provide PPE while traditional manufacturing methods come onstream. Once injection molding systems begin production of face shields and other PPE, 3D printing will cease to be a viable solution as the volumes are not comparable. However, the second phase of the response will involve ensuring medical devices and manufacturing technology remain functional. Here 3D printing is likely to play a significant role, and one that IM is unlikely to have have an immediate solution for. 

The on demand production of spare parts in an area where 3D printing is set to find increased utility. Furthermore, production of the tooling, jigs, and fixtures required by manufacturers is also an area where already 3D printing is in use. 

Anisoprint says for companies, “who have faced supply chain disruptions [it will 3D print] composite or plastic parts free of charge.”

Fedor Antonov, CEO of Anisoprint, said, “Our technology can help replace traditional tools, jigs and fixtures with the 3D printed ones. We have significant experience in producing composite parts for manufacturing companies and we definitely would be happy to support them now, during this crisis.”

The company offers continuous fiber-reinforced parts, plastic with short fibers (carbon filled) or pure plastic parts.

Send your part model to [email protected]. The team will contact you and try to help.


3D Systems & Veterans Health Administration develop stopgap 3D printed mask

3D printing face masks on FDM/FFF printers using common materials such as PLA has been warned against repeatedly by the 3D printing community. With this in mind, be aware that this news from 3D Systems uses SLS and biocompatible nylon 3D print an emergency Stopgap Face Mask (SFM).

Working with engineers and clinicians from the US Veterans Health Administration, 3D Systems has assisted in the development of a 3D printed face mask. The SFM is intended to be used to plug the shortage of PPE for health care professionals. 3D Systems draws attention to revised FDA guidance issued on March 25th 2020, that says where FDA-cleared are unavailable healthcare professionals may choose to improvise PPE.

The 3D printed face mask is available in various sizes and should be made using SLS 3D printers in biocompatible nylon. The SFM, “is comprised of the 3d printed mask and filter cover, two elastic strips, and a rectangular patch of filter material.  The SFM can be reprocessed using disinfectants and/or autoclaved,” said 3D Systems.

A further note from the company reads, “The Stopgap Face Mask is to be used for medical purposes when standard PPE is unavailable or for less critical non-medical environments that do not require compliant PPE.  The SFM design has undergone review in a clinical setting and is recommended for use when manufactured according to the guidance and used as instructed in the IFU. Included with download are the 3d printable files, the instructions for use (IFU), and a manufacturing guidance document for printing from a 3D Systems Selective Laser Sintering machine in Duraform PA or Duraform ProX PA. Selective laser sintering can be used to manufacture volume quantities of the mask and filter cover.”

A tweet from the VHA Innovation Ecosystem reads, “It’s here the 1st @DeptVetAffairs 

 #3Dprinted design meeting @fda regulatory standards for #COVID19

Further information the 3D printed face mask files are available here.

3D Systems Stopgap Face Mask. Image via 3D Systems.
3D Systems Stopgap Face Mask. Image via 3D Systems.
The 3D Systems Stopgap Face Mask. Photo via 3D Systems.
The 3D Systems Stopgap Face Mask. Photo via 3D Systems.

BONE3D installs 61 Stratasys FDM 3D printers at Paris Hospital 

Working with BONE3D, a French medical 3D printing company, University of Paris and Stratasys, AP-HP (Assistance publique – Hôpitaux de Paris) has installed 61 3D printers.

AP-HP is a university hospital trust with operations in Paris and the surrounding area. The AP-HP hospital system is one of largest in the world with more than 90,000 employees, of which 15,800 are physicians.

Local company BONE3D has assisted the AP-HP with the installation of 61 Stratasys 3D printers and will be running the 3D printers in conjunction with the University of Paris and Dr. Roman Hossein Khonsari. The 3D printers will be used to meet the needs of caregivers in the AP-HP system.

A statement from BONE3D reads, “Many French manufacturers are using their production capacity for the manufacture of complex equipment essential for patient care (respirators, intensive care beds, syringe pump motors, etc.) in order to fight against COVID-19. Hospitals need to regain reactivity and agility in the supply of simple but critical devices. In just 10 days, the Covid3D platform was implemented at Cochin Hospital to meet the needs of the AP-HP hospitals in the shortest possible time.”

Stratasys 3D printers installed by BONE3D at Cochin Hospital for AP-HP. Photo via BONE3D.
Stratasys 3D printers installed by BONE3D at Cochin Hospital for AP-HP. Photo via BONE3D.

GKN company Forecast 3D launches production of 3D printed masks, swabs and PPE

Forecast 3D offers additive manufacturing, CNC and injection molding services. With over 50 machines, the GKN company, can 3D print up to 10,000 production parts on a daily basis. Forecast 3D is now using this manufacturing capacity for the production of, “face shields, stopgap masks, nasopharyngeal swabs, and other critical PPE products”. Working with HP and medical device suppliers, Forecast 3D will assist customers in selecting FDA-approved designs for production.

Forecast 3D is specifically offering the following items: 

Face Shield with brim, which includes 1 headband, 3 clear PET lenses and packaging.

Face Shield without brim, which includes 1 headband, 3 clear PET lenses and packaging.

Stopgap Masks, which include the mask and cover.

Nasopharyngeal Swabs for COVID-19 testing.

The primary means of production will be HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers. 

“We are proud to be doing our part to help provide critical supplies to the healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle,” said Ken Burns, Commercial Vice President at FORECAST 3D. “One of the benefits of additive manufacturing is its ability to adapt to changing product needs. Once we had FDA-approved or NIH-endorsed designs, we accelerated production on these much-needed supplies.”

More information is available here.


NAMIC launches COVID-19 Response Resource

NAMIC in Singapore has launched a website to provide a list of resources for medical institutions and hospitals. The organization is working with medical equipment suppliers and 3D printing hubs to “ design, optimize and print parts for essential health care equipment.”

Currently, the website includes a map displaying commercial 3D printing resources in the region and has a form to share requirements and needs. The website also gives a link to guidelines from the Health Sciences Authority in Singapore.

Formlabs, Carbon, EnvisionTEC and Origin launch consortium to produce 3D printed nasophryngeal swabs

Testing for coronavirus has been identified as a bottleneck in stemming the spread of COVID-19. A task force including Harvard Medical School, BIDMC, Desktop Metal and the 3D printing enterprises named above hope to address this via a newly formed consortium. The manufacturers in the program “have been verified as ISO13485 facilities and are in production on FDA registered swab designs.” The consortium is ready to produce up to 4 million 3D printed swabs on a weekly basis. 

Hospital incident commanders can use the order form on the consortium’s website to connect with the group.

Voodoo Manufacturing sets up website for emergency PPE

New York’s Voodoo Manufacturing has launched a website where orders for emergency PPE and parts for healthcare workers and hospitals can be placed.

Orders for 3D printed protective face shields and nasopharyngeal test swabs can be placed online. The company says it has capacity to produce 2,500 face shields per week and 50,000 swabs. 

Stanford University investigates reusable snorkel mask PPE project

Adapting existing equipment, such as sports gear, to serve as PPE using 3D printing is an approach demonstrated by Isinnova/FabLab Brescia (see above). Now the Prakash Lab at Stanford is working on a reusable full-face snorkel mask PPE project. The Pneumask, is “a kit of parts consisting of an off-the-shelf snorkeling mask, a custom (3D-printed) adapter, and a filter/filter cartridge. The primary benefit of a snorkeling mask is providing a full-face shield and air seal while allowing for controlled intake and exhaust flows through the mask. Such masks are already widely available in large quantities and tapping into their supply chain would allow their production to be quickly ramped up during this crisis,” says a statement on the lab’s website.

Stanford University explains, “The goal is to modify a “full-face” snorkeling mask and add a 3D-printed part on the ventilation port of the snorkel shield. This 3D-printed part will be a custom attachment, acting as a swap-in replacement for the snorkel tube. As with a snorkel tube, all inhaled air will pass through the attachment. A filter can be added to the attachment for air filtration.”

“Integrating a N95 mask filter for 0.3 µm particles into the custom attachment would allow the snorkel mask to function as a simple face shield, thus providing the same level of protection to a medical health worker as a combination of an N95 mask and a face shield. Moreover, we are extensively testing this solution for decontamination and re-use using heat treatment, autoclaving, bleach and other standard decontamination protocols.”

Pneumask from Stanford University. Image via Stanford University.
Pneumask from Stanford University. Image via Stanford University.


3D LifePrints launches 3D printed Distancer

The UK’s 3D LifePrints has launched a 3D printed multi-purpose device call the Distancer. The company is selling the Distancer for £4 ($5.50) and for every device sold it will donate one to the UK’s NHS.

The Distancer is a security card/ID holder that doubles as a device to open doors, without the need for direct contact by the user. The company describes the Distancer as, “a simple yet effective device to reduce contamination as you move through buildings.”

More information can be found here.

3D printed face shield updates – successes and a snag

The production of 3D printed face shields is an area where the 3D printing industry has been most visible. There are numerous initiatives underway to provide this item to healthcare workers. As reports below illustrate, face shields or visors produced by 3D printers are in demand. However, not all initiatives have been welcomed in the manner expected.

TU Graz University has produced face shields for the Clinical Department for General Anaesthesiology, Emergency and Intensive Care Medicine at Med Uni Graz, (KAGes).

Christian Ramsauer explains, “I am delighted that we have already been able to hand over the first 1,000 face shields to KAGes today. These were designed by my team at the Schumpeter Laboratory for Innovation at TU Graz and have been manufactured by us in shift operation since the weekend.” A total of 10,000 such shields will be produced for KAGes at TU Graz in the coming weeks.

In Italy, Weerg and PressUP have responded to a call from the Italian Civil Protection organization to deliver 500 protective visors, “By virtually combining our 3D Printing department with PressUP’s digital production and logistics, we were able to produce the first prototypes in just a few days and start up an efficient production line between Venice and Rome in record time,” said Matteo Rigamonti, Weerg’s founder.

Prodways has leveraged its network of customers to manufacture over 5,000 face shields. The effort includes Crown Ceram or Laboratoire La Perle in France, Plus Dental in Germany, NM3D Ibérica and Nort3D in Spain and Portugal, Namitech in Italy, Dental Crafter in the United States or Laboratoire Dentaire Summum in Canada. “Our priority was to act quickly with the greatest possible impact by providing our support for the supply of face shields for medical staff while ensuring the safety of our employees”, explained Olivier Strebelle, Chief Executive Officer of Prodways Group “At the heart of our contribution, we are particularly concerned about safety, reliability and the certification required to ensure that the solutions produced can be used safely by healthcare workers.”

Jo Prusa writes that his Czech factory has produced more than 55,000 face shields in under three weeks. The face shields have been donated to hospitals and are in use by Czech first responders. Prusa writes, “It’s an incredible collaborative effort that goes far beyond anything that 3D printing communities have ever accomplished. This is not just about printing a lot of parts, it’s about management, planning, cooperation, collection, and distribution. Far more than one could imagine. There’s so much good work being done and we’re incredibly proud of the entire 3D printing community.” Updates are available here.

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have delivered over 800 face shields. The team led by Dr Eneko Larrañeta, Dr Juan Dominguez-Robles and Dr Dimitrios Lamprou from the School of Pharmacy is using 3D printing and laser cutting to make the devices.  

Professor Falzon said: “Simplicity is at the heart of these designs for ease of manufacture and assembly. We have the capacity to produce up to 300 per day per laser cutter and we have a number of laser cutters within the Faculty of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.”  

Nexteer Automotive is using its 3D printers in Saginaw, Michigan and Tychy, Poland to produce face shields. In Poland over 100 face shields can be produced daily. “Our 3D printers are typically used to create prototype steering systems for our automotive OEM customers, but our team found a creative solution to leverage our 3D technology to help our local community fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Piotr Dembiński, communications manager for Europe, Middle East, Africa & South America, Nexteer Automotive. “Within just two days of starting this initiative, our engineers were producing masks – showcasing the strength of our One Nexteer team when faced with a problem. We’re also offering to share our project details and key learnings with other companies looking to use their 3D technology to produce medical equipment.” 

The UK’s Paragon Rapid Technologies, together with, RPS have produced over 5000 face shields for hospitals in the North East of England. Working around the clock since March 24th, the 5000th face shield was completed last week.

“I am so proud of our team,” says Neil Cook, Paragon’s Managing Director. “They have worked around the clock, across shifts they wouldn’t ordinarily have worked, and foregone holidays and weekends to get these vital PPE face shields completed and shipped.” The face shields were printed using Carbon and RPS additive manufacturing systems. Royal DSM donated 40 kg of resin material to the initiative. 

Paragon RT prints 5000 visors. Photo via Paragon RT.
Paragon RT prints 5000 visors. Photo via Paragon RT.

Also in the UK former England footballer, Steve Bull has collected 250 face shields from Ricoh 3D in Telford. The face shields will be donated to local hospitals including the New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton. Steve Bull said, “I’m delighted that Ricoh 3D has made this donation. It will make a tremendous difference to the NHS staff on the frontline. One of my oldest friends works at the hospital and she told me they are in desperate need, so I knew I had to try and do something to help. They need many more. These will offer fantastic protection and it was amazing to hear how they have been developed using 3D printing. Thank you to the team at Ricoh 3D.”

Steve Bull collecting face visors from Ricoh 3D in Telford. Photo via Ricoh 3D.
Steve Bull collecting face visors from Ricoh 3D in Telford. Photo via Ricoh 3D.

In New York, Shapeways has produced over 1,100 face shields. Shapeways CEO Gregory Kress said, “This is 100% needed. It’s 100% being used by medical crew. It’s 100% missing from their inventory. And they need it ASAP.” The company is accepting donations to aid the effort and will donate a face shield for every 4 produced. Also in the US, specifically greater Cincinnati, GE Additive has provided 350 face shields to TriHealth.

As the reports above show, 3D printed face shields are plugging a needed gap in the supply of PPE. Yet the experience of volunteers seeking to support local health workers is not universal. 

The Pentyrch and surrounding area PPE Visor Production Facebook group was set up to provide updates on a project initiated by Richard Blackwell in Wales. 

Scott Dewey, a volunteer with the project, explained to me how the group has hit a barrier. “We now have a total of 16 different printers with people around the area printing 24/7 and more printers coming online every day. Originally Richard was making around 30 a day, now we are making hundreds. All going out to NHS staff and key workers for FREE,” he writes. The group has raised almost £9000 to cover material costs.

“Up until yesterday [13th April]  we had made and delivered 1500 visors, with 1400 more waiting to go out, held up because of red tape.” The red tape referred to is a letter from a test laboratory that tells the group, “to stop what we are doing because the visors aren’t certified and what we were doing is therefore illegal.” The group has since contacted all recipients of the face shields. 

The group has contacted MP’s Kevin Brennan and Alex Davies-Jones in a bid to find a solution and has even contacted First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford to overcome this barrier. Dewey writes, “We understand why these procedures are in place but these are unprecedented times and bureaucracy shouldn’t be costing lives.”

“We now have a network of volunteers helping to assemble them and deliver them. Huge support from the local community which has been really touching, flowers delivered to door, ice cream, Welsh cakes…a local businessman has even donated his empty shop front in Rhwbina for us to use for our operation, which is helping us do this more safely and efficiently. Our new setup in the store is incredible, we did a trial run before we go stopped and we are able to assemble 285 visors in 90 minutes.”

A private testing and certification company has produced a report for the group, and “made a disclaimer for us which will now allow us to deliver them to the NHS. However, they are still not certified and we have heard that different NHS organisations are taking different stances on it, some are telling people not use anything unofficial so even though we are now sending some out, they might not be able to use them. The tests the company did only allows to send to NHS as well. We are not currently able to give them to other people and we have a lot of orders from care homes etc.”

3D printed visors boxed by the Pentyrch group. Photo via Scott Dewey.
3D printed visors boxed by the Pentyrch group. Photo via Scott Dewey.
Bridgend Paramedics using the 3D printed face shield. Photo via Scott Dewey.
Bridgend Paramedics using the 3D printed face shield. Photo via Scott Dewey.

Automotive sector makes 3D printing capacity available

Mercedes-Benz has offered its support in the production of medical devices, “With our highly competent team and years of experience in 3D printing technology, we are ready to make our contribution to the production of medical devices,” says Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG, Production and Supply Chain. “To this end, we are also in contact with the state government of Baden-Württemberg. Our expertise and specialist knowledge is available for production; now it is up to the medical technology sector to contact us. Our 3D printers are definitely available.”

Titan Robotics Atlas system provides faster production of face shields at lower cost

Titan Robotics, an industrial 3D printer manufacturer based in Colorado, is using the Atlas pellet extrusion system to speed production of PPE for local healthcare workers. 

The Atlas is able to print at a faster rate than FDM systems and the use of pellets, rather than filament, means a broader range of materials are available. The company writes, “Each face shield halo only takes 5.5 minutes to print and uses less than 50 cents in material cost.”


3D Systems gives update on 3D printing COVID-19 tests

Nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs are an integral part of the test kits that allow the medical world to detect COVID-19 in those who may be asymptomatic, yet continue to spread Coronavirus. A shortage of NP swabs is been tackled by the 3D printing industry, where SLA technology, in particular, has applications for making these devices. 

3D Systems is currently validated the material and print process for NP swabs. The company reports, “Based on initial capacity analysis of a single Figure 4 system, it can print 273 swabs in 2.5 hours, which equates to 34 seconds per swab or 18,345 swabs per week. We also have several ISO 13485 certified facilities that can produce medical parts.”

“We believe that Figure 4 and its autoclavable, biocompatible materials will be a great fit mass-producing large quantities of swabs in a short amount of time.”

EnvisionTEC 3D printed Nasopharyngeal Swabs pass clinical trial

EnvisionTEC together with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, Massachusetts, has developed an NP swab design and material to produce the much-needed items using the Envision One cDLM 3D printer.

The 3D printed collection tip for a flexible NP swab has now completed testing in an “IRB-approved clinical trial.” EnvisionTEC writes, “This testing of both the design and the material included several rigorous mechanical and chemical tests. This was done to ensure that the swabs pick up viral RNA particles and do not interfere with PCA/reagents, that they are chemically safe, that they would bend 180 degrees without breaking, and that the design would be able to safely collect enough virus particles from the nasal passage to effectively test.”

Testing included demonstrating that the NP swab’s mechanical performance did not change after steam sterilization at  270°F at 27 Pa in an autoclave. The material used is E-Guide Soft.

The company, and its registered customers, have a daily production capacity of up to a million NP swabs. EnvisionTEC says that since its launch in 2019, the Envision One has sold over 1,000 units.

More information is available here.

3D printed face shield production

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies and during regular business uses 3D printing for applications including manufacturing/engineering components, testing samples and models of equipment under development. 

Goodyear representatives in Luxembourg became aware of a Facebook group called “3D Print – Let’s Fight Corona Luxembourg” where a call was issued regarding PPE. With the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg alone requiring 500 face shields, a response from Goodyear using its own 3D printers and private systems commenced. The company writes, “The result was high-demand face shield parts being delivered for immediate use, and Goodyear’s 3D printers are continuing to print face shield parts.”


China deploys emergency 3D printing enabled drones to combat COVID-19

Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) made by Hawk Eye Electronic Technology are helping with Cornavirus relief efforts.

While Hawk Eye has a rather dystopian homepage touting “Recon, Attack, Manage, Control, Rescue, Communicate”, it is the use of UAV’s for providing medical supplies that the company would like to highlight right now.

The Hawk Eye 6-rotor drone can stay airborne for an hour and can carry up to 13 kg. Using the 3D printing systems of Farsoon, the UAV’s can be adapted for the load out. The drones are currently in use serval major cities in Jiangxi Province, China, by the local center for disease control.

Depending on the size and weight of the supplies, special 3D printed accessory mounts, extension arms, hooks or payload containers are used.

Mr. Zhao, head of the manufacturing department at Hawk Eye Technology said, “Most of the UAV’s housings is produced on Farsoon 403 systems, and functional parts such as connectors, supports, adapters and electric fuse boxes. Additive technology also helps us to establish our digital inventory to reduce the cost of spare parts, and reduce the lead time for new production inquiry, These benefits become powerful production tools especially during the time of Covid-19 pandemic where supply chains were disrupted, we were able to produce extra orders of accessory mounts for emergency UAVs.” 

“The development cycle of new UAV accessories and modules usually takes 3 design iterations, which will take up to 9 months in total,” said Hu Chenghao, General Manager of Hawk Eye Technology, “The complex structures have to be produced in multiple smaller parts for further assembly and post-processing. Also, we have to customize special tools and molds, which will increase the cost by more than 5,000 USD.”

How the Hawk Eye drone uses Farsoon 3D printing technology. Image via Farsoon.
How the Hawk Eye drone uses Farsoon 3D printing technology. Image via Farsoon.
Farsoon series production of UAV electrical housing and battery housing. Photo via Farsoon Technologies
Farsoon series production of UAV electrical housing and battery housing. Photo via Farsoon Technologies

Ferrari begins 3D printing production of respirator values

Italian sports car manufacturer Ferrari is 3D printing respirator valves and fittings for protective masks. The initiative involves automotive prototype developers at the company’s Maranello plant in conjunction with Mares, a diving equipment manufacturer, with support from Nuovamacut Gruppo TeamSystem. The 3D printed valves are designed to fit scuba masks. 

A Stratasys Fortus 450mc is among the 3D printers used to make the values, laser etching then adds the famous prancing horse. A statement from the company reads, “In the next few days, Ferrari plans to manufacture several hundred items of equipment that are already being distributed by some of the companies involved, with the coordination of the Italian Civil Protection, to various Italian hospitals including those in Bergamo, Genoa, Modena, and Sassuolo as well as to health workers in the town of Medicina, near Bologna.”

A video produced by the company shows how workers are also using the 3D printed door handle adapters to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

A 3D printed valve by made Ferrari. Photo via Ferrari.
A 3D printed valve by made Ferrari. Photo via Ferrari.

Nissan will deliver 100,000 face shields to UK’s NHS

3D printed face shields are plugging a supply chain gap while traditional manufacturing methods come on stream. At carmaker Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the North East of England phase one of the response to COVID-19 has seen volunteers receiving 3D printed face shields to distribute to frontline workers. 

Speaking to ITV News, Anthony Grilli, one of the organisers of the initiative said, ”We had the ability to support the national effort to produce more PPE for frontline health workers and we just had to help. We quickly mobilised to produce parts using our 3D printing capability at home and we’re grateful to everyone that donated through our crowdfunding site to help us get this going.”

In phase two Nissan will use injection molding to ramp up production and expects weekly production to reach 100,000 face shields.

Assembly line at Nissan Sunderland. Photo via Nissan.
Assembly line at Nissan Sunderland. Photo via Nissan.

MakerOS launches Makers Against COVID

MakerOS is using its MakerOS Overflow supply and sales channel to assist in the response to COVID-19. 

Organizations including state and local governments, health systems, real estate owners, construction companies, field service organizations, and any local business can request equipment via a newly launched website

The platform has already served to connect an early request from a senior housing community with a supplier. “We had a great need for face shields, and a lot of the vendors were out at this time,” according to Katrina Aleck, one of the directors of nursing at the housing community. “With your [Makers Against COVID] help, we were able to get face shields that are very durable and effective, and we got them in a timely manner, so we’re very happy with that.”


Mobility Goes Additive issues call for help

Mobility Goes Additive (MGA) recently hosted a virtual meeting where supply bottlenecks of PPE were highlighted. 

MGA draws attention in particular to Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V., a voluntary humanitarian group based in Berlin. A statement issued by MGA reads, “There is an urgent need for protective equipment for their more than 23,000 full-time staff and around 40,000 volunteers. The most pressing need concerns 5,000 protective face shields, which are applied during in-house training to protect all those who provide care every day and to adequately prepare them for the special circumstances of service.”

MGA has issued a call for help to all 3D printer manufacturers, 3D printing service providers and makerspaces. “The Johanniter Unfall-Hilfe e. V. is operating in almost 300 regional, district and local bodies throughout Germany and hence an integral part of the national healthcare system. Anyone willing and able to donate can find details and instructions on medicalgoesadditive.org.”


America Makes challenges Additive Manufacturing community

America Makes has announced two new challenges that intend to harness the 3D printing industry’s collective strengths. The first challenge announced is the Fit to Face – Mask Design Challenge in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. A second initiative is the COVID-19 Maker Challenge, a joint event by Challenge America and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Innovation Ecosystem.

America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski, said, “Both of these opportunities seek to tap into the amazing innovation we’ve seen to date from the entire AM community during this crisis.”

“This industry is uniquely positioned to take on these challenges as we have the ability to rapidly design and test products that will solve very real problems for frontline workers.”  

The America Makes Innovation Sprint: Fit to Face – Mask Design Challenge runs from April 20th to 26th. “Right now, in the fight against COVID-19 in this country and around the world, the greatest and most acute PPE need is face masks,” said America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski. “The goal of the Fit to FaceMask Design Challenge is to rapidly innovate face mask designs with quality solutions that ensure a proper fit and better seal around the face.” 

Critical geometries and dimension used for making N95 masks will be available to participants. Up to three enteries per participant can be submitted to the challenge before 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 25th. Five designs will be selected for fast track review by the VA. The top designs will be announced on May 11th 2020. Visit the Fit to Face website for more information.

The Challenge America and VHA Innovation Ecosystem COVID-19 Makers Challenge runs from April 25 – May 3, 2020. Jointly hosted by Challenge America and the VHA Innovation Ecosystem teams are invited to “submit potential problems stemming from COVID-19 that face first responders and develop innovative solutions to address them. The challenge launches on April 25th. Teams will conduct a weeklong virtual evaluation of challenges culminating in a “two-day virtual make-a-thon event May 2 – 3. During the event, teams will fabricate prototypes of their solutions that are suitable for rapid manufacturing.”

For more information and to register for COVID-19 Makers Challenge visit the website.

Trelleborg provides Boeing with component for 3D printed face shields

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, an established provider of solutions to Boeing’s aircraft, is supplying a face shield component to the aerospace manufacturer as it joins the urgent effort to assist medical workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Boeing approached Trelleborg at the end of March 2020, to manufacture and supply an elastomer strap needed for the adjustable headband of 3D printed face shields.  The Trelleborg Sealing Solutions dedicated aerospace facility in Northborough, Massachusetts, supported a 48-hour turnaround of prototypes using methodologies including 3D printing. The following week, the site was able to ramp up production to 5000 straps per week. 

Quinn Collett, Air Frame Manager, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions Aerospace, says: “In these unprecedented times, it’s imperative everyone plays a role that might not be in line with the one they are used to.  We were fortunate to receive the call from Boeing to support this effort and leverage Trelleborg’s expertise to quickly address the need.”

Boeing plans to produce face shields using its additive manufacturing machines at various sites across the US. Boeing is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on this effort. FEMA will determine where the face shields are most needed.

The elastomer straps provided are manufactured from aerospace-grade silicone.  After a few fit trials, Boeing and Trelleborg were able to lock in the final released design.

Formlabs issues update on COVID-19 activity

Formlabs has provided an update with details of how the company is using 3D printing to tackle COVID-19. The company writes: 

“Formlabs has collaborated with USF Health, Northwell Health, and Tampa General Hospital to successfully produce and test a 3D printed nasal swab to address emergency shortages that hospitals and health care teams face as testing for COVID-19 increases. More info here.

In parallel, the Hospital virtual Valdecilla (HvV), in Spain, have designed and developed their own swabs. HvV is now 3D-printing them to fulfill the internal demand in the Cantabria region. In the spirit to contribute to the global fight against COVID-19 they are providing open access to their design files so that other hospitals can benefit from it. More info here.

3Digital Factory, a company based in Barcelona, with the collaboration of other companies, has developed a solution to convert Decathlon snorkel masks into personal protective equipment by allowing the installation of filters in the entry/exit of the mask to filter the air of both the user and the surroundings while isolating the whole face. More info here.

Last but not least, we have just launched the Formlabs COVID-19 Community Parts Library where you can find a growing collection of impactful parts contributed by our worldwide user community and ready to be printed and used by anyone. These items are intended to be provided to first responders and essential workers around the world who are in urgent need of supplies that could improve their safety and minimize the spread within our communities.”


 €350,000 available for COVID-19 solutions

The AMable project first launched in 2017 with the aim to “create a new eco-system for the uptake of additive manufacturing”. The initiative now includes partners such as Fraunhofer’s ILT and ISST, TNO in the Netherlands, and The Welding Institute (TWI) in the UK. 

A public “call for solutions” was issued today by AMable in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. “Ideally, each solution will lead to a freely accessible design file including documentation with a precise description of the process. It should enable users to additively manufacture components reliably at the push of a button. But it should also provide a solution that can be further developed and adapted to specific applications by anyone on site,” 

Ulrich Thombansen, project coordinator and scientist at Fraunhofer ILT said, “There are already many ideas from SMEs for solving this pressing problem with the aid of additive processes.” 

“We are investigating in which cases 3D printing can be used to produce components faster and more reliably than conventional processes and how current needs can be met as quickly as possible with new solutions.”

The AMable partners want “flexible AM solutions to fight the Coronavirus”. Specific ideas are requested that support the vital work of hospitals, medical practices and nursing staff. Furthermore, solutions for production in SMEs and in industry and the skilled trades, this includes ideas that support people in their daily work.

A total of €350,000 is available. Further information is available on the AMable website

XYZprinting donates 3D printed face shields Hoag Hospital

XYZprinting, together with volunteers from Beckman High School in Irvine, California, has produced 500 3D printed face shields. The face shields were produced using a print farm of more than 20 da Vinci 1.0 3D printers. The face shields are earmarked for donation to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, CA.

Vinson Chien, Managing Director XYZprinting US, said, “The dynamic nature of 3D-Printing is a great way of problem solving, especially in dire times like these. We are not only hoping to relieve medical workers in our beautiful sunshine state, but also inspire younger folks to help our local community.”      

Anatomiz3D Medtech leverage local network to deliver 48,000 3D printed face shields

It is reported that Indian 3D printing enterprise Anatomiz3D is assisting the local response to COVID-19 with the production of 3D printed face shields. “In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, India is grappling with a severe shortage of protective gear to avoid exposure from this highly contagious virus. Leveraging our unparalleled expertise and a highly proficient workforce, we have pledged to mitigate the scarcity of protective equipment across the country,” says Firoza Kothari, Founder, Anatomiz3D.

The company, which includes Tata Memorial Centre, Max healthcare, Fortis healthcare, AIIMS, Apollo hospital, and Nanavati hospital among clients, is working around the clock to the produce desperately needed PPE. “To date we have distributed more than 48,000 units to essential workers, cementing our core objective of contributing to a healthier world with cutting edge technologies,” said Kothari.

Print farm for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust produces 1,500 face shields daily

On the edge of London, a 3D printing farm of more than 200 3D printers is operating around the clock to produce face shields for NHS hospitals. Frontline healthcare workers will receive

Speaking to a local newspaper, David Lawson, chief procurement officer at Guy’s and St Thomas’ said, “Being able to print our own stock will also allow us to support other trusts in need of these items.”

The print farm was established at the healthcare trust’s supply hub in Dartford, Kent. Volunteers from King’s College London and Brunel universities together with local members of the 3D printing community are assembled in the face shields. A large number of the printers were provided by iMakr, who in March undertook a similar response in New York. Electronic vendor Pi Supply is also assisting with the initiative and provides a look inside the Dartford print farm in the video below. 


Nexa3D plans to deliver 10,000 face shields and 500,000 test swabs per week

Nexa3D, a California-based SLA 3D printer manufacturer, has launched a service for delivering 3D printed face shields for healthcare and other essential workers on the frontline in the U.S., in response to urgent requests for PPE. The shields come in two variations: XShield, and the more durable XShield Pro, each designed to be easy to both put on and take off. 

The company has installed additional capacity at its new customer experience facility in Ventura, CA to support the production of 10,000 face shields per week. Additionally, Nexa3D is also working on several IRB processes to supply nasal test swabs to healthcare facilities and testing labs. The firm states that it has the capacity to manufacture up to 500,000 test swabs per week as well. “We believe that the additive manufacturing industry is uniquely positioned to deliver practical, urgent, and scalable solutions during this unprecedented crisis that address the severely broken supply-chain,” comments Nexa3D CEO Avi Reichental. 

Stratasys and Origin partner to deliver COVID-19 test swabs

Stratasys and Origin have signed an agreement in which the former will market and promote Origin 3D-printed nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs to healthcare providers and other testing centers in the U.S. The initiative comes in response to the lack of widespread testing supplies for COVID-19.

Origin’s 3D printed NP 01 Swabs, designed specifically for COVID-19 test kits, have completed a Phase III clinical trial and validation with Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). They are also biocompatible conforming to appropriate ISO and FDA classifications (ISO20795-2: and ISO10993:). Each Origin One 3D printer, according to Stratasys, has the ability to produce batches of 1,500 Origin NP O1 Swabs at a time. Currently, Origin is aiming to enable the production of approximately 190,000 per day swabs per day. 

In turn, Stratasys will market Origin’s NP 01 Swabs to the healthcare industry. Stratasys Americas President Rich Garrity states: “We have tremendous confidence in Origin’s 3D printing technology, and we’re confident in our ability to help bring them to market efficiently,” he said.

Astroprint launches clusters platform to manage maker network producing PPE

3D printing cloud service Astroprint has launched its clusters platform, an interactive map tool designed to support regional coordinators in managing groups of 3D printer owners and makers, and distribute the medical supplies they 3D print to areas and medical facilities in need of PPE. The tool allows coordinators to upload files for parts and manage logistics of part pickup/delivery, as makers report that their 3D printed parts are ready for distribution. The company claims that 300 people have joined the platform and more than 3,000 parts have been printed and delivered to hospitals.

According to Astroprint, makers across three different states in the U.S. have used the clusters platform to 3D print and deliver PPE equipment for people in the Navajo Nation, a Native American reservation. Reported last week, the Navajo Nation has the third-highest infection rate in the country outside of the epicenters of New York and New Jersey. 40 percent of families in the territory live below the Federal poverty rate, and hospitals are finding it difficult to source PPE equipment. 

VFD manufacturer prioritizes NHS with 3D printed visor parts

Invertek Drives, a global manufacturer of Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) has begun producing parts of PPE equipment for the NHS in the UK using its 3D printers.

VFDs are used for controlling motors and pumps, used in many essential industries. The company uses 3D printing to help prototype its VFD products at its headquarters and global manufacturing facility at Welshpool, Wales. It is now leveraging those 3D printers to produce PPE parts that are then sent to manufacturers to have visors fitted onto them, before being sent to the NHS. 

“Our innovation team is producing the visor parts on our 3D printers 24 hours a day as part of the effort by companies and individuals throughout the country to support medical teams on the frontline of the NHS with PPE equipment,” comments Glyn Jones, technical director at Invertek Drives.


University of Nottingham team receives CE approval for PPE face shield

Engineers working at the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM) are 3D printing face shields “at scale” for the local NHS and healthcare workers. 

The Faculty of Engineering team is set to deliver 5,000 3D printed face shields. An open-source design developed by HP was modified to ensure it would pass testing by the UK’s national standards body, BSI.

The University writes, “This 3D Printed Face Shield has been approved by BSI to PPE for Healthcare Professionals 2020/403 – Eye protection Technical Specification. BSI Assurance UK Ltd.” The face shield is intended only to be used as protection against COVID-19. 

The 3D printed headband is made from PA12 nylon with laser cut straps and a visor made using polypropylene and PET respectively. In a remarkably short period of time, the face shield passed the BSI testing and is now CE approved as PPE for healthcare workers. 

Professor Richard Hague, Director of the Centre for Additive Manufacturing, said, “Our primary goal was to ensure that we delivered a PPE solution that was safe and certified so that healthcare workers can have confidence in the equipment they’re using. Using the flexibility of Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) and laser cutting technology, we’ve been able to arrive at a design, get it tested and approved, and then manufactured and delivered in a very quick timeframe.” Professor Hague added, “We have also had incredible support from our collaborators in getting these face shields to the NHS – the teamwork and willingness of people to help has been truly heart-warming and we are all extremely proud to be able to contribute to the nation’s fight against coronavirus.”

Professor Donal McNally, Head of the Bioengineering Research Group in the Faculty of Engineering, said, “Having a PPE solution that meets National and EU safety standards is critical for deployment within the NHS.  It has been a truly outstanding achievement to go from nothing to thousands of devices being used by local doctors and hospitals in less than a month.  This would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of local manufacturing partners and BSI.”

Dr. James Hopkinson, Local GP and Joint Clinical Chair of NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, said: “We are extremely grateful to the University of Nottingham for developing and supplying the visors which will make a real difference to thousands of healthcare staff working on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak.” Dr. Hopkinson added, “Packs of the face shields have already been delivered to local GP practices, and we have plans in place to share them with a range of other keyworkers such as people who care for others at home. I think this is a really positive example of talented professionals working across normal boundaries in order to support our local communities in what is an unprecedented and very challenging time.”

Further details are available here.

Modifications were required to comply with BSI testing. Image via University of Nottingham.
Modifications were required to comply with BSI testing. Image via University of Nottingham.

UV industry associations warn against using UV light on human body to disinfect Coronavirus

RadTech North America and the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) have responded to suggestions that ultraviolet (UV) light can be used on the human body to disinfect against the coronavirus. 

RadTech is a non-profit that will be most familiar to readers as the organizers of the UV+EB Conference.

A statement reads, “We would like to inform the public that there are no protocols to advise or to permit the safe use of UV light directly on the human body at the wavelengths and exposures proven to efficiently kill viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. UV light under the conditions known to kill such viruses are also known to cause severe skin burns, skin cancer, and eye damage. We strongly recommend that anyone using UV light to disinfect medical equipment, surfaces, or air in the context of COVID-19, applications that are supported by sound scientific evidence, follow all recommended health and safety precautions and to avoid direct exposure of the body to the UV light.”

Law firm summarizes changing legal landscape during COVID-19 pandemic

Arnold & Porter, a US law firm with over 1,000 partners, has published an article summarizing the shifting legal landscape during the current healthcare crisis. A statement from the firm notes, “The 3D printing community has the ability to play an important role in alleviating shortages in critical medical supplies for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With this in mind emergency regulatory authorizations and enhanced immunities, measures providing immunity from liability, have been put in place. According to Arnold & Porter, the liability risks regarding 3D printing medical supplies related to COVID-19 are, “ diminished dramatically with the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) Declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the HHS Secretary)”.  A further advisory opinion from the HHS Secretary on April 14th tackles the subject of immunity. 

“Regulatory requirements and liability risks have already been materially reduced in response to the global crisis in a variety of ways that make it substantially easier and less risky for 3D manufacturers to participate in medical product manufacturing,” writes Arnold & Porter.

The law firm writes that is important for “3D manufacturers to work collaboratively with governmental agencies and existing medical device manufacturers, to include adequate disclaimers and labeling on their products and not make unsubstantiated claims or claims of intended uses that would present an undue public health risk, to respect the intellectual property rights of others, and to implement appropriate controls regarding the designs, materials, processes, and finished products in order to produce high quality medical materials.”

The detailed statement on 3D printing in the fight against COVID-19 from Arnold & Porter can be read here.

MGA will deliver 5,000 3D printed face shields to Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe

The call for help issued by Mobility/Medical Goes Additive (see update above on 20th April) has yielded a strong response. Over 50 enterprises took up the challenge and today the 5,000 3D printed face shields produced will be handed over to Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe, in Berlin Germany. Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe is one of the largest aid organizations in Germany.

Kevin Grigorian, Head of the Emergency Medical Services and Civil Protection Department at the Federal Headquarters of the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe said,  “The 3D-printed shields will make an important contribution in preparing our volunteers in civil protection for special activities in the Corona pandemic. Certified protection material can thus be reserved for real emergencies. Indeed, the 3D-printed shields will allow the volunteers to practice the complex handling of protective equipment under live conditions. We thank the entire MGA network for the 5,000 face shields and for supporting us so quickly and flexibly”.

MGA thanks the donors including, 3D Innova Tech UG, 3dk.berlin, 3Dmensionals.de, Airbus Customer Service Toulouse, Airbus Germany, Baker Hughes, Blue Production GmbH & Co. KG, Cadus e.V., Condor Group, Deutsche Bahn AG, DMRC, EOS GmbH, ERIKS Deutschland GmbH, EvoBus GmbH, Fraunhofer EMI, Fraunhofer IAPT, Fraunhofer IGCV, Fraunhofer IPA, Fraunhofer IPT, Fraunhofer IWU, Grohe AG, Hirschvogel Umformtechnik GmbH, Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften Coburg, igus GmbH, IT-Service Leipzig GmbH, Kegelmann Technik GmbH, Krause DiMaTec GmbH, Lehmann&Voss&Co. KG, Leichtbau-Zentrum Sachsen GmbH, Maker vs. Virus, Makerbot, Mobility goes Additive e.V., MotionLab Berlin, Netzwerk offener Werkstätten Brandenburg, PICCO’s 3D World, PRIMAX 3D, PVA Löt- und Werkstofftechnik GmbH, radotec GmbH, Satair A/S, Sauter Engineering + Design, Schönborner Armaturen GmbH, Schubert Additive Solutions GmbH, Stickerei Keinath GmbH, TEUFEL Prototypen GmbH, TU München, vi2parts, Vision Devices GmbH, voxeljet AG, xHain hack+makespace, ZAL Zentrum für Angewandte Luftfahrtforschung and many private donors.

MGA 3D printed face shield. Photo via MGA
MGA 3D printed face shield. Photo via MGA

3D Printing Industry

The 3D Printing Industry team switched to remote working early in March, and we will continue to bring readers updates on how the community is responding to the pandemic. In mid-March we created a Discord Server to connect people, share information and help coordinate some of the goodwill and urge to help. The server now has over 3,000 members from around the world, if you would like to join please use this link.

The nominations for the 2020 3D Printing Industry Awards are now open. Who do you think should make the shortlists for this year’s show? Have your say now. 

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Featured image shows a worker carrying disinfection equipment at Budapest International Airport. Photo via Associated Press.