How people are using 3D printing to fight equipment shortages, from tech companies to a high school robotics team making 400 face masks a day

Hospitals and healthcare workers are suffering from a shortage of protective equipment.Materialise
  • 3D-printing technology offers novel ways for organizations outside of medicine to help fight the coronavirus.
  • One high school robotics team in Michigan is 3D-printing 400 face shields a day.
  • A UK company that normally prints architectural models is now producing ventilator masks and valves
  • A Belgian 3D-printing company designed a hands-free door opener and an oxygen-mask connector meant to help keep COVID-19 patients off ventilators.
  • View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook.

3D printing is on the rise as shortages of medical devices and protective equipment hit hospitals and healthcare workers around the world.

To alleviate the shortages, big companies, universities, and even hobbyists are stepping in.

A competitive robotics program called FIRST is working with a team of students from Romeo High School in Michigan to 3D-print face shields for local firefighters. Advertisement

As word spread, the team increased production and partnered with other schools across the country. To date, the team can print up to 400 face shields per day.

"It's pretty cool because you take about a day, you come up with this model, and you're able to in, you know, two hours or something, have the physical model in your hand," Cameron Coesens, a member of the high school's robotics team, told Business Insider Today.

"I commend my students for being able to step up to this," Mike Savage, coach of the team, said. "They're treating it with the same kind oh abilities that they picked up during FIRST robotics competition seasons where, you know, 'Hey, we've got a problem. How can we fix it?'"

"It's been really, really neat, really inspirational to see how the kids have stepped up."

But face shields are from the only high-demand product being produced. Hobs 3D, a UK company that normally prints architectural models, is now producing ventilator masks and valves. And Materialise, one of the world's largest 3D-printing companies headquartered in Belgium, recently designed this hands-free door opener to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It gave the design away for free online and encouraged anyone with 3D printers to make more. Advertisement

The design has been downloaded over 60,000 times.

See how 3D printing is changing the fight against the coronavirus on Business Insider Today »

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