3D-printing technology battles coronavirus outbreak

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As the world struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak, experts are harnessing 3Dprinting technology in an effort to make in-demand items, such as components for masks and face shields.

Budmen Industries, a small 3D-printing company in Onondaga County, N.Y., has been sharing a template for printing face shields and also providing the shields themselves to local health care workers and first responders.

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“We looked at a number of shortages and we saw that these face shields were out,” Isaac Budmen told Dana Perino on “The Daily Briefing.”

The company looked at what the face shields are made of, how they are designed and their connections, he explained. “We put together something and the health care workers started to use them,” he added.

Medical staff members arrive for a duty shift at Dongsan Hospital in Daegu, South Korea, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - file photo.

Medical staff members arrive for a duty shift at Dongsan Hospital in Daegu, South Korea, Tuesday, March 24, 2020 – file photo.
(Han Jong-chan/Yonhap via AP)

In addition to making the template for the face shields available to anybody who wants to 3D-print them, the company is also providing them to local workers who need them.

“Health care workers and first responders can request these shields,” Stephanie Keefe of Budmen Industries told Perino. “We’re making these shields in Onondaga County and then bringing them to the hospitals and first responders in Onondaga County.”

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Budmen Industries is also helping people living further afield connect with resources in their local area to print the face shields. “Anybody who registers on the website, we’re connecting them with the people who will make them right in their community, with the hospitals that need them in their community,” Budmen added. “We’re doing that all over the globe.”

Tech giant HP is also deploying its 3D printing expertise to support the battle against coronavirus. Earlier this week, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm said that it had delivered more than 1,000 3D-printed parts to local hospitals.“Initial applications being validated and finalized for industrial production include face masks, face shields, mask adjusters, nasal swabs, hands-free door openers, and respirator parts,” it said.

HP added it was working with a number of government agencies all over the world “to ensure a synchronized and effective approach.”

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The first items being validated and produced include a hands-free door opener, a clasp that can be used to adjust masks and brackets to hold face shields.

Other applications in the testing and validation phase that are expected to be in production soon include 3D-printed parts for a mechanical bag valve mask designed to provide emergency ventilation to COVID-19 patients and hospital-grade face masks.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter@jamesjrogers.