Experts Share Best Practices for 3D Printing COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment
Staff posted on June 18, 2020 |
An Ohio-based 3D Printing company shares how additive manufacturing is solving PPE shortages.

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Healthcare professionals wearing 3D printed PPE. (Image courtesy of Simplify3D.)
Healthcare professionals wearing 3D printed PPE. (Image courtesy of Simplify3D.)

A 3D printing software based in Cincinnati, Ohio, Simplify3D, has published a new series titled Lessons From the Field where they highlight how the additive manufacturing industry is helping in the fight against COVID-19. The series contains insights and detailed instructions from the Simplify3D engineers who spent hundreds of hours test-printing top Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) designs including face shields, face masks, respirators, hands-free door openers, and ear savers. This research is combined with the feedback that the Simplify3D team received from over 40 organizations worldwide who are 3D printing and distributing PPE at a large scale to support healthcare workers.

(Image courtesy of Simplify3D.)
(Image courtesy of Simplify3D.)

"When COVID-19 began, we knew right away that 3D printing was going to play an important role in the response. We were soon contacted by hundreds of customers looking for ways to put their own 3D printers to use to alleviate supply chain shortages within their communities and beyond", recalls Clayton Webster, Simplify3D, CEO. "We quickly recognized the need for a central resource that aggregates PPE production, assembly, and distribution recommendations to make it easy for people to jump in and help. We combined our in-house expertise with insights from healthcare organizations around the world to develop a comprehensive resource for 3D printing the PPE solutions that were needed most."

Sample page on materials and designs. (Image courtesy of Simplify3D.)
Sample page on materials and designs. (Image courtesy of Simplify3D.)

Each article in the series focuses on a different PPE item, providing everything needed to assist with the relief effort including:

  • 3D model recommendations—top selections based on in-house testing and feedback from healthcare workers.
  • Sourcing recommendations—where to find high-demand items and what materials work best for each design.
  • Print optimization tips—best practices to reduce print time and increase durability for high-use parts.
  • Assembly instructions—how to assemble, test, and disinfect the parts so that they are ready for use.
  • Distribution—advice for quickly getting the parts into the hands of those who need them most.
Client prints. (Image courtesy of Simplify3D.)
Client prints. (Image courtesy of Simplify3D.)

Since the launch of the Lessons from the Field series, Simplify3D has helped their customers print over one million PPE items that were donated directly to healthcare workers and organizations in need. "The speed and cooperation that we saw around the globe was astounding.  We’re proud to be a part of an industry that stepped up to make a difference during the crisis", adds Webster.

As the pandemic continues, Simplify3D remains committed to supporting organizations by providing application expertise and resources to accelerate relief efforts. The Lessons From the Field series will continue to be updated as best practices change or new PPE items are needed. Contact the Simplify3D team directly to get involved or share your own team's contribution to the fight by visiting the website.

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