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3D printing offers solutions to hospital shortages

3D printers are being used around the world to produce much-needed parts for hospitals, from face masks to hands-free door openers, and the designs are free to download.

Hewlett Packard (HP) and its global digital manufacturing community have so far mobilised 3D printing facilities to produce more than 1,000 3D printed parts for local hospitals worldwide in the fight against COVID-19.

Examples include an adapter for doors which allows the user to open them with their elbow rather than their hand, a mask adjuster clasp designed to improve comfort for hospital staff having to wear face masks for extended periods of time, as well as brackets for face shields. Other applications being validated and finalised for production include parts for a mechanical bag valve mask for short-term emergency respirators, and even nasal swabs.


HP and its partners have made the validated design files for many of the parts freely available for download for other 3D printers to use. Enrique Lores, President and CEO of HP Inc., said:

“HP and our digital manufacturing partners are working non-stop in the battle against this unprecedented virus. We are collaborating across borders and industries to identify the parts most in need, validate the designs, and begin 3D printing them. Our deepest appreciation goes to our employees, partners, customers, and members of our community for their tireless efforts to support the medical professionals making a difference on the front lines.”

The global 3D Hubs network has called on its hundreds of manufacturing partners worldwide to produce parts and has set up a COVID-19 Manufacturing Fund to raise the money and resources required.

Engineers designing parts but lacking capital or production facilities can apply to the fund for financial support. Companies can donate to the fund via a GoFundMe page.

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