The global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) has created a severe shortage of PPE across the world. And the maker community is rising to the occasion by researching the problem, developing possible solutions, selecting the most promising solution, constructing a prototype, testing and evaluating, communicating the design, and redesigning. In some worldwide communities, makers are working closely with their local hospitals in the design process.
If you want to know more about the global response, check out these recommended resources:
Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies: Our Intent, Needs, and Your Role provides an excellent overview of the issues involved in the worldwide COVID19 situation and supply need.
Help crowdsource Repair Information for Hospital Equipment Fixit is building a central resource for maintenance and repair of hospital equipment. This is an attempt to centralize all the documentation and resources necessary to keep these life-saving machines operating and to help biomedical technicians.
Helpful Engineering is an open community designing, sourcing, and executing projects to help people suffering from the COVID-19 crisis worldwide. Helpful Engineering is working through project proposals and submitting them to rapid peer review by experts.
MakeIt Labs COVID-19 Relief Efforts is a Nashua, NH initiative. MakeIt Labs is bringing together maker communities, medical centers, corporations, and manufacturers to produce alternative PPE for the medical workers at the front lines of the pandemic. They have spearheaded the procurement and distribution of massive quantities of PET plastic sheets for the construction of face shields. This material is being distributed to maker groups throughout New England, as well as to industrial-scale manufacturing partners who are assisting in scaling up production.
If you want to keep up with the latest developments, join these worldwide Facebook groups:
We have gathered some specific links regarding various types of PPE and equipment which local makers can use to stay informed and up to date regarding the worldwide maker response.
Information About Making Specific Items:
Fabric Face Masks -- Handmade face masks will always be a last resort and are not considered PPEs. According to CDC guidelines, when all PPE courses of action are exhausted, handmade or homemade masks could be used to protect doctors and nurses for whom no N95 masks are available. However, the CDC also emphasizes that such an approach is acceptable only when absolutely necessary.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock is accepting handmade fabric masks at two dropoff centers, in Lebanon, N.H., and Manchester, N.H. Instructions, an instructional video, and information about the drop-off centers can be found on Dartmouth-Hitchcock's webpage.
3D printable Face Masks -- It takes longer to fabricate a mask than it does to sew a mask, so many makers have decided that making shields is a better way to go.
3D printable face masks pose a challenge due to issues concerning reusability, sanitization, disability, and fit. However, several designs are being made available and are continually being improved upon.
We have found that in Billings, Montana, a neurosurgeon at the Billings Clinic, is working with Spencer Zaugg Family and Implant Dental Services to design a face mask with an interchangeable filter.
Face Shields -- Shields help protect those treating coronavirus sufferers, guarding the eyes and face against potential infection from the coughs and sneezes of patients. According to the CDC, face shields are an option when face masks are unavailable or can be used in combination with a homemade face mask. Face shields should cover "the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face."
There are several different face shield designs online that can be 3D printer or manually constructed.
After sending out a call to local owners of fabrication equipment, Massachusetts General Hospital announced on March 23 that they are in the process of testing out different designs to determine which would be the most effective for their facility to use and will make this information public online.
One face shield was designed by Budmen Industries, an upstate New York company that makes 3D printers, who have set up their website for both those in need of PPE and those willing to produce PPE to register and get connected. Downloadable instructions, templates, and .stl files for 3D printing can be found here.
Surgical Mask Strap Extenders -- Nashua's Make It Labs have been making this Thingiverse model. It has been NIH approved and relieves the pressure on the ears of medical professionals. It will fit on a Flashforge Finder printer ( if you turn it at a 45-degree
angle ). The extenders print in about 15 minutes.
Other PPEs and Equipment -- Makers are designing scrubs, gowns, booties, hoods, bibs, and ventilators values.
For information search for these words in these Facebook pages: