Help 3d print hospital masks in the USA

#1
I just wrote a MakerBot user in New Jersey and offered to help print some breathing masks, after reading an article. The young woman is an engineering student getting her masters at Rutgers, and she's trying to finalize her mask designs and get other "makers" to pitch in. If I hear back that we Cheetah users can be useful, I hope we'll do so. Should I hear back, I'll post further. If her design can be used freely and globally, I'll post the files here or a link she provides.
 
#4
There are different kinds of masks that can be useful. Some are fabric, some aren't, and some are a combination of materials.
Just do a web search for "3d printed masks" and you'll see what I mean.
I think a way people on this forum might be able to help is by improving designs, unless of course they have a good 3D printer setup, and lots of material to create stuff for local hospitals and/or agencies. Even that seems pretty ambitious, and of course bureaucracy is a stumbling block many will have to get over, but hey, it may be worth the effort.

My favorite discovery yesterday was seeing someone who (or who's family?) owns a factory that they have successfully repurposed to output a million cloth masks a day. I hope more companies can pitch in like this, but @gregvoth's shout out is much-appreciated. One thing is for sure: people need help.

[EDIT - addendum]

For example, here is a 3D printed piece that became useful for local testing station in upstate NY, USA - just a visor that holds a replaceable shield (not what you might think of when someone says "mask" of course). The couple who owns a 3D printing company was asked to make hundreds of them to help out. Pretty cool: https://www.syracuse.com/coronaviru...e-shields-for-coronavirus-testing-clinic.html

Masks are fabric.

I know a guy trying to build ventilators, but that seems a bit naive.
 
Last edited:

Helmut

Well-known member
#5
* An important aspect of the design is the ease of multiple use:
* Gloves seem to be in abundant supply (they are constantly being discharged and new ones are put on when nurses / medics are switching patients). Face masks are labelled with a personal tag and are removed / put on as nurses and doctors move between the "public" and the "medical" areas of the station.
* The bottle neck seems to be the manufacture of melt-blown fabric (an extremely fine plastic mesh of nanofibres) used in the professional masks for health care workers. Such fabric is produced by hideously expensive machinery. There is no way to produce such nano fibres on a 3D printer unless you invest a few million $ / € / £. Due to the shortage, the price of nano fabrics has decupled (increased 10-fold) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
* There is a list of instructions which must be followed when handling the masks, specifically relating to what can be touched / must not be touched when manipulating such masks. I suspect that damaging the melt-blown fabric renders a mask useless as the filtration / viral protection is reduced to zero. In was told that breathing whilst wearing a mask is a bit laborious.
:sick: From recent personal research - pulmology and cardiology - between :eek: intensive care and :giggle: dismissal.

* Of course, this all does not apply to the cheap masks for the general public. Such masks only filter droplets (as from sneezing or coughing) but are useless for any viral protection. It may be possible to manufacture such masks cheaply.
 
Last edited:
#6
I've seen a few different articles about people designing 3d-printed face-shields for volunteers to use during the crisis (3d printing the structure and clasps, adding and replacing the clear plastic shields as required). Kinda like a very lightweight welding mask.
 

podperson

Well-known member
#8
It’s great that people are pitching in where they can.

The guy I follow on Twitter is claiming he will be turning out 100 ventilators per day, which is fantastic.
 

Swizl

Well-known member
#9
Anything that can help health workers, I'm all for it. My wife's sister is a nurse that works in LA. We also have a friend that works at a hospital in New York City and she was just pulled from her regular duties and put on a Corona virus only unit.

There are also other things people can do to help. There are a few different software applications that help researchers working on treating / curing different diseases. One of them is Folding@home. It runs in the background.

They are working to add Covid-19 specific tasks.

https://foldingathome.org/
 
#10
Coincidentally (@Swizl , you and my youtube algorithms are in sync), I installed and began running it yesterday. (y)

Anything that can help health workers, I'm all for it. My wife's sister is a nurse that works in LA. We also have a friend that works at a hospital in New York City and she was just pulled from her regular duties and put on a Corona virus only unit.

There are also other things people can do to help. There are a few different software applications that help researchers working on treating / curing different diseases. One of them is Folding@home. It runs in the background.

They are working to add Covid-19 specific tasks.

https://foldingathome.org/
Anything that can help health workers, I'm all for it. My wife's sister is a nurse that works in LA. We also have a friend that works at a hospital in New York City and she was just pulled from her regular duties and put on a Corona virus only unit.

There are also other things people can do to help. There are a few different software applications that help researchers working on treating / curing different diseases. One of them is Folding@home. It runs in the background.

They are working to add Covid-19 specific tasks.

https://foldingathome.org/
 
#12
Problem is...the masks are only good for a couple of hours. The virus can attach itself on the mask. It will not protect you, in fact it will increase the chance of infection.
 

Swizl

Well-known member
#13
Problem is...the masks are only good for a couple of hours. The virus can attach itself on the mask. It will not protect you, in fact it will increase the chance of infection.
Problem is...the masks are only good for a couple of hours. The virus can attach itself on the mask. It will not protect you, in fact it will increase the chance of infection.
I think the thing they are trying to do is put these cloth masks over the N95 masks. It's not ideal, but when these medical workers have no new masks to use, they have to do something to extend their use. It's either that or not use any at all (not a good option TBH). Some of these hospital ER's are going through thousands and thousands of masks a day. Typically they'd switch to a new mask between every new patient, but it's not possible at the rate this is going. I'm hoping the industries that can make these can ramp up production quick enough to get this vital protective equipment to all the medical workers that need them.

My country (USA) definitely needs a large reserve of these items in the future, just like we have had a strategic stockpile of oil for national defense.
 
#14
I like it very much that people try to help, and there is a lot of this going on. We can spend money, we can spend computer time, ask the neighbours if they need something. It already helps if we don't buy toilet paper like crazy and stay at home.

As Helmut already made clear, medicinal masks are out of the question anyway (here around they're called ffp2 masks). But I don't even think that it is possible to create the cheaper masks with 3d-printers and materials that are available for private users (at least nothing I ever heard of). Nor is it helpful to discuss if such cheap masks are useful or not in this special case (some specialists say no, others disagree, everyone with good arguments laymen really can't evaluate or in most cases even comprehend). We can't 3d-print a solution, but we can meet the people we see (be it from our windows or when we have to go outside for shopping or work) with a smile and a (properly social distanced) greeting. For that we don't even waste material.

But I appreciate it that people are willing to help and try to do something, because I am quite disappointed in the western governments (no one in europe had the simple idea to help the Italians before (now they do, but to late and to less), no one has enough medicinal materials for something that was expected already in the 80ties and so on). And I'm disappointed in a minority of people that's hoarding stuff while others never get tired of posting stupid, egoistic or narcissistic comments in message boards of our news papers (be that conspiracy theories, hate or indifference to the pain of others), those that use the oppurtunity to earn a fast buck or the stupidity of those who still are celebrating parties or those who react to all these people with hate (and being just the same). Only I'm not sure anymore if it really is a minority.

So a lot of what I read and what friends or family told me, what I've seen in towns nearby, and above all, that people are dying world wide, some of which could have been prevented, all that just makes me real, real sad, even while my own situation is more or less comfortable for the moment. So keep up thinking how you could help. And don't forget to smile :).
 
#15
I think the thing they are trying to do is put these cloth masks over the N95 masks. It's not ideal, but when these medical workers have no new masks to use, they have to do something to extend their use. It's either that or not use any at all (not a good option TBH). Some of these hospital ER's are going through thousands and thousands of masks a day. Typically they'd switch to a new mask between every new patient, but it's not possible at the rate this is going. I'm hoping the industries that can make these can ramp up production quick enough to get this vital protective equipment to all the medical workers that need them.

My country (USA) definitely needs a large reserve of these items in the future, just like we have had a strategic stockpile of oil for national defense.
Here in Belgium it's just the same. No masks in stock so they use 1 mask per nurse per day. That of course in a section with only corona patients.

A 3D mask is a very nice idea but the problem is that the virus sticks the longest on such material. On the fabric masks it won't survive long but on a 3d printed mask it survives many days. So the risk is even higher having one on. Better to not do it then.

If this would be a solution, it would be mass produced already.

But it looks cool ;-)
 

podperson

Well-known member
#16
I saw a doctor raving about paper hoodie style integrated masks and air filters, saying they were far more comfortable than either the masks or the face protectors (let alone both) but the downside was you had to shout to be heard.

I also saw doctors and nurses in italy after wearing this gear for 48h — their faces bruised all over.

Nothing useful to add…
 

Swizl

Well-known member
#17
A friend of mine that lives in Dallas has apparently come down with the virus. He started feeling bad yesterday and this morning woke up feeling awful with a 102 degree temperature. He texted me earlier this afternoon. Both him and his wife haven't gone anywhere in the last two weeks other than him going to the grocery store on Sunday night. So he's 99.9% positive he got it from there.
 
#18
A friend of mine that lives in Dallas has apparently come down with the virus. He started feeling bad yesterday and this morning woke up feeling awful with a 102 degree temperature. He texted me earlier this afternoon. Both him and his wife haven't gone anywhere in the last two weeks other than him going to the grocery store on Sunday night. So he's 99.9% positive he got it from there.
Here (in Dallas), we just passed the first full week of loosely enforced "Shelter at home" rules, and the weather is beautiful, so I'm seeing stir crazy people getting a little sloppy about the "social distancing" rules when they go outside - particularly groups of kids running around neighborhoods with no adults in sight. I suspect next week is not going to be fun around here.
 

Swizl

Well-known member
#19
Here (in Dallas), we just passed the first full week of loosely enforced "Shelter at home" rules, and the weather is beautiful, so I'm seeing stir crazy people getting a little sloppy about the "social distancing" rules when they go outside - particularly groups of kids running around neighborhoods with no adults in sight. I suspect next week is not going to be fun around here.
Same here in Atlanta. My mom continues to go out and shop for non-essential items, hang out with her friends, etc. She lives in the FL panhandle. She's in her 70's and has had cancer. She just won't listen to us (her kids).

What really sucks is my friend and his wife really haven't left their house in the last two weeks other than the time he went to the grocery store. We stocked up on groceries a few weeks ago, but eventually we will have to venture out to the grocery store as well. Stay safe!
 
#20
Same here in Atlanta. My mom continues to go out and shop for non-essential items, hang out with her friends, etc. She lives in the FL panhandle. She's in her 70's and has had cancer. She just won't listen to us (her kids).

What really sucks is my friend and his wife really haven't left their house in the last two weeks other than the time he went to the grocery store. We stocked up on groceries a few weeks ago, but eventually we will have to venture out to the grocery store as well. Stay safe!
You too.
 
Top