Tessa’s Weekly Picks – 3D Printed Ventilator Parts

2020-07-24

Tessa Blokland  

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What surprised me from the Corona pandemic is that sometimes just a small part of a device could make a real difference. Take for example the ventilator splitters in this blog post. The design is relatively easy and with the right geometry and measurements, one machine is available for two patients. Here are a few examples of 3D printed parts for ventilators that were designed and offered for those in need.

VESper™ is a new 3D printed device, manufactured by Ethicon, that allows one ventilator to support up to two patients during the past times of acute equipment shortages. Each ventilator needs two Y-shaped connectors: one on the intake and one on the return. The device is designed to work with ISO standard respiratory connections, is easy to produce, strong, and impact resistant.

Because of the shortage of assisted ventilation equipment in hospitals and ICUs in Spain last March, the need for the development of a printed part that would enable the use of a single assisted ventilation machine for two – but can reach up to three or even four patients, with the same ventilatory requirements, was crucial. The design of this 3D printed splitter, developed by Leitat, is 3D printed in PA12 with HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology, and each print bed contains 17 pieces.

This T-shaped 3D printed part can convert BiPAP machines designed for sleep apnea into much-needed ventilators. Formlabs, a manufacturer of 3D printer, allocated 150 3D printers at its headquarters towards printing these adapters, which enabled them to print up to an impressive number of 3,000 parts per day.

Not only companies 3D printed parts for ventilators, but also individuals such as Christian Parker shared his knowledge and played his part in 3D printing Y-shaped splitters. Each ventilator splitter took about an hour and 45 minutes to print. As Parker mentions on the website: “I think the biggest problem is that we’re all sitting at home and we all feel helpless, and then on top of that we hear about hospital shortages of PPE and ventilators … this is allowing me to feel like I’m contributing in some way.” You are absolutely right!

On the last bottom and top image of this blog post, you can see how two 3D printed Y-shaped splitters are needed to reach up for two patients. The team behind this 3D printed splitter has a clear goal: “To have an easily printed 3D part so that anyone in the world, who may need it in dire circumstances, can use it to save lives.” The team of 4 anesthesiologists shares the STL file for free on their website. What a great initiative!

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Each of Tessa’s weekly picks is a curated group of 3D printed designs, based on the week’s chosen theme. If you would like to offer a theme for Tessa, or if you have your own 3D printed weekly picks you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest weekly picks every week in your mailbox.

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