September 29, 2020

Respirators, visors … 3D printing and collaborative initiatives combat the lack of sanitary material – La Provincia

One of the problems faced by health personnel to counteract the effects of coronavirus, while a possible vaccine or treatment arrives, it is the lack of equipment and material.

This has generated the reaction of makers throughout Spain, and also in other parts of the world, which are spontaneously joining together and organizing through social media and instant communication platforms such as Telegram or WhatsApp.

Their goal is to create prototypes for 3d print and quickly and inexpensively manufacture respirators, fans, visors, or face masks, some of the items that are most lacking to treat COVID-19 sufferers and protect the workers who are in contact with them.

Prototypes in four days

It is a recent movement, but whose intense activity is making rapid progress. For example, in the case of the Resistance Team they have managed in a few days to have a prototype of a self-contained respirator ready, which has materialized in two models based on the Jackson Rees system, the Respirator23 and the Respirator17.

In their Twitter account the start of activity dates back to March 16, when they shared the files of these two “functional prototypes” so that people could start “testing” and asked for the collaboration of anyone who has “3D printers, cut laser, cnc and plastic injection “.

In just a few days, there are more than 7,000 in the Telegram channel considered the core of the activity (Coronavirus Makers) and what they need most now, according to Luis Gonzalo Aller, one of the members of this initiative, is organization. “When people enter the channel, they really want to print and create things, but they have to be patient. It is important to contribute, but the most important thing now is to organize“explains this maker, who is a founding partner and peer of the company Fotón Sistemas Inteligentes, as well as a founding partner of the Association of Free Software Companies of the Canary Islands.

Luis Gonzalo Aller is one of the first to join the ‘subgroup’ of co-creators of the Reesistencia Team, which is mobilizing to get ready “as soon as possible” respirators to fill hospitals. The task is not easy, because they have to “be able to be constantly working for 24 hours and at least for a month. And it must also be taken into account that they are mechanically resistant or that they can be easily fixed. A poorly made appliance is a danger, it can kill a person, and we don’t want that. “

For those infected with coronavirus in critical condition, artificial respirators are essential, since those affected usually have serious respiratory problems and may need assisted respiration.

Collaboration, the key

Another of the first instigators of this initiative is Ramsés Marrero, also a maker and anesthesiologist, which makes him essential in this collaborative context, according to his friend. Luis Gonzalo Aller, Because their knowledge and that of other colleagues in the health profession is what has allowed us to know what equipment is needed and also what can work better in the current situation.

In the case of the respirator, it is a device whose handling is not easy and that requires an oxygen intake, a calibration, specialized personnel … And in principle they are not in a normal plant or unit, but are in the ICUs, resuscitation zones or operating rooms.

“There are nurses, doctors € but they are still few in relation to the whole group, but It is normal, because right now they are very busy and because they are not used to the maker world, “says this spokesperson for Reesistencia Team.

“This is incredible”

After starting from scratch and generating documentation and files in four days to start manufacturing the necessary parts, as well as graphics to illustrate the assembly and assembly, the first tests of artificial ventilation are already being carried out with these prototypes with lungs pork. “If you pass this litmus test you have to go to Health levels. I calculate that after this week, whether on Monday or Tuesday, there could already be pots that can be manufactured, “says Luis Gonzalo Aller.

It is essential the hospital collaboration and medical personnel, both in the design and manufacturing process and for testing and commissioning, since these respirator models are not suitable for home use.

“Permits have been requested to take material and test with the circuit and just now it has been possible, because they are not all in use yet. It was luck, because we are on time,” reflects this maker, who believes that if the deadlines continue Being on their side, healthcare personnel could have these 3D-print respirators at their disposal just as the coronavirus spike reveals their scarcity.

“It seems incredible that out of 3,000 people something comes out, with so much participation and so much chaos … And it does. This is incredible. To give you an idea, in one day they made a manual that normally takes weeks, and it is being programmed . I’ve never seen anything like it“, highlights Luis Gonzalo Aller, highlighting the work of all those involved, which translates into long hours, endless chats, videoconference meetings and, above all, a great desire to help.

Not just respirators

But it is not only respirators that are being designed and produced, but other types of equipment. Subgroups are being generated and there are makers in charge of creating visors also for 3D printing that are already being printed and used in various provinces.

At an international level, the group has also begun to mobilize Open Source Ventilator Project to develop low cost fans. Also through social networks and their website, they request collaboration from engineers, designers and healthcare personnel to continue and accelerate the printing and testing phase.


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