Utilizing 3D Printing to Provide PPE to Frontline Workers
COVID-19 has impacted all areas of our lives and our healthcare workers have been on the frontlines fighting against it. When the pandemic hit Spain, Spanish hospitals were woefully under-equipped with PPE to keep frontline workers protected, with some workers improvising by using garbage bags as a result.
To help with the national effort, our very own Ana de Prado joined a non-profit organization called Imprimiendo Sonrisas, whose mission is to create PPE materials such as masks and visors to healthcare workers using 3D printers.
Ana discovered Imprimiendo Sonrisas through a Telegram group created by the official Spanish PPE group Coronavirus Makers. From here, she found the regional branch of the group for Madrid called Madrid Coronavirus Makers. Because so many people had volunteered to help with the national effort, smaller groups emerged across different neighbourhoods, which is how she found Imprimiendo Sonrisas. who provide comprehensive information for people to create their own reusable and washable masks in a sustainable way.
To create these PPE materials, a strip of plastic is printed to fit the dimensions of the forehead and rubber bands are used to help it adapt to the head of the wearer. This plastic strip is designed to hold a transparent acrylic or methacrylate sheet in front of the wearer’s face to protect against Covid-19 contamination.
Currently, Imprimiendo Sonrisas have produced:
- 4,629 3D-printed protective screens
- 5,538 handmade protective screens
- 5,350 ear protectors
Ana’s group consisted of 100 people working with 3D printers and sewing machines working to create PPE, and Ana herself made over 200 pieces of PPE.
It’s wonderful to see how the use of 3D printers in the medical field have helped contribute towards the national efforts to beat coronavirus and we hope to see these organizations create even more protective equipment with the use of this technology.
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