3D Printing of PPE to Alleviate the Shortage

One can use 3D Printing of PPE (personal protective equipment) to create masks and other devices in small quantities, to help alleviate the current shortage. Foot openers, a form of PPE, eliminate one placing his hands on doorknobs, thus stopping passing of the virus and germs from person to person when opening doors, even without gloves. Fortunately, one can also readily print foot openers by 3D printing of PPE. Health care workers need facemasks, but there is a shortage. Individuals and companies can easily make face shields by 3D printing, even complicated ones with multiple cutouts. Thus, one can help mitigate the dearth of protective face masks through the use of 3D Printing.  

3D Printing of PPE uses 3D CAD models

3D Printing of PPE requires 3D CAD models. Simply, one prints a CAD model not on paper, but out of plastic, in three dimension. An engineer can easily put together, modify and adapt 3D CAD models for 3D printing on many different 3D printing devices. A very small desktop 3D printer can produce a part the size of a mask every five hours. Therefore, a small 3D Printer can create two masks per day. If the PPE is a complicated assembly with many parts, then one can make the parts in different locations. Next, one collects all the parts then sends to local organizations and for volunteers to assemble. As printing and assembly of masks proceeds, the efforts can step up the number of much-needed masks. https://www.glewengineering.com/3d-printers-no-longer-just-for-engineering-teams.

There are several open-source libraries of 3D CAD models. [2 – 3] One can simply download the 3D CAD model and then print it. On the other hand, one can design the parts from scratch or modify the design. Many have 3D printers: they are popular with the community and hobbyists;  engineers and designers used them to rapidly prototype parts. There are enough 3D printers in the community to make a difference and produce PPE.

3D Printing of Foot Operated Door Opener

Doorknobs and handles spread germs, for example, surfaces in patients’ surroundings, including the doorknobs and handles. Therefore, it is necessary to find a means of limiting and preventing the transmission of pathogens when opening doors, eliminating relevant transmission routes for viruses and microorganisms. Hospital staff, visitors, cleaning services, and others serve as potential sources of contamination for surfaces and door handles. In particular, the nursing staff spreads pathogens because they only perform hand-disinfection at a rate of under 50%. As well, one report shows that 4.6 employees had MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). [1] 3D Printing of PPE can alleviate the problem of people contaminating doorknobs.

The foot-operated door opener operates together with a soft-closing mechanism, thereby preventing noise emanating from the door latch impinging on the door frame. This construction, eliminates the door handle as a transmission vector, and also facilitates the transport of goods held with two hands. Furthermore, patients might get more rest without doors banging. 3D

3D Printing Libraries

3D CAD libraries for 3D printing, contribute to production efforts, working alongside engineering and health departments to create medical-grade equipment. Also in production, N95 masks, valves, and the much-needed ventilator, which poses added challenges. However, with Engineers’ expertise of 3D Printing of PPE and 3D CAD, individuals and small companies can make the much-needed PPE supplies for health care workers, local hospitals, clinics, and testing sites.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252648/
  2. https://studio.cul.columbia.edu/face-shield/wi
  3. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/covid-19-using-3d-to-make-ppe/

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