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After learning that a local hospital was running short on small but crucial components, the CEO of an Italian startup company decided to invest important resources into helping.
An equipment shortage, mainly the shortage of valves that connect respirators to oxygen masks, cause a panic among doctors. The company that makes the valves couldn’t keep up with the demand, and doctors were in search of a solution.
“When we heard about the shortage, we got in touch with the hospital immediately. We printed some prototypes. The hospital tested them and told us they worked,” the CEO, Cristian Fracassi, told Reuters. “So we printed 100 valves, and I delivered them personally.”
Similar efforts have popped up around the world. In Liverpool, New York, Isaac Budmen and Stephanie Keefe were printing more than 300 face shields for workers at a virus test site in Syracuse, according to The Post-Standard of Syracuse. Budmen and Keefe, who run a business, Budmen Industries, selling custom 3D printers out of their home, turned to a fleet of 16 3D printers in their basement.
3D printing, a relatively new and niche technology that can create everything from houses to tiny and complex structures from raw materials, has remained mostly on the fringes of the manufacturing and health care sectors.
One company, Copper3D, developed a 3D-printed mask that is designed to filter out airborne particles that could carry viruses. The company released plans for the mask, called “NanoHack,” free online.
Several other initiatives have focused on repairing or building ventilators.