3D printed face shields
Problem: Face protection is crucial in the fight against infectious diseases: it protects the eyes (an infection vector) and prolongs the life of N95 masks by protecting them from direct droplet flow. Unfortunately, personal protection shields are scarce and are usually designed as disposable shields. For this reason, medical professionals either do without shields or use disposable shields, which are far beyond their life expectancy.
Solution: Markforged engineers have developed a reusable face shield that can be made with any Markforged 3D printer. It consists of a 3D-printed frame, a face shield cut from PETg, a piece of foam tape and a standard rubber band. The clear face shields can be removed and replaced in less than 30 seconds.
Status: To date, we have produced over 300 face shields, which we have distributed to local hospitals and first responders for testing purposes. These tests have been mostly positive and have given us some great feedback that will be incorporated into a second generation design that we plan to release at a later date. We have chosen open source as our Generation 1 design, so that Markforged customers and partners can print their own face shields. To learn more, scroll down to the “How you can help” section. Or click here.
3D printed nose swabs
Problem: Testing people and identifying COVID-19 infected patients is the first way to slow the spread of the disease. With the increase in global testing capacity, a new shortage has emerged: the special nose swabs required to perform the tests. To make matters worse, the main producer of these swabs is located in northern Italy, one of the most affected regions.
Solution: Markforged is working with a customer to design and test swab pens that can be printed in just two minutes. These printed sticks can be flocked with rayon fibres to form functional nose swabs. We believe that we can produce 700 swabs per day per printer using a special print file. As a reference, this would mean that the 40 printer print farm where we print samples could produce 28,000 swabs per day.
Status: We are still in testing, but plan to validate and certify our design in the coming days. After that we plan to increase production with key manufacturing partners.
Problem: Medical providers are running out of the PPE they need to safely care for sick patients. Given the massive global demand for this device, it is likely that the shortage will worsen before it improves. Providers need durable, reusable devices that can withstand the duration of this outbreak.
Solution: Markforged is working with a number of local companies to develop an adapter that will allow widely available HEPA filters to be mounted on full face snorkel masks. This design combines the comfort and reusability of a face shield with the highly efficient filtration that medical providers require.
Status: Prototypes have been developed and are in initial testing.