Because of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, there have been severe protective equipment shortages across the country. This has put healthcare providers, and therefore the healthcare system, at grave risk. 3D printing enthusiasts have been manufacturing face guards, face masks, ear guards etc. in an attempt to fill the gap. We happen to have a very nice prosumer grade 3D printer at the Child Mind Institute Manhatten office, a Zortrax M200. I took it home with me and I’ve been printing face guards and ear guards non-stop ever since.
The NIH (National Institute of Health) has approved a number of different 3D printable designs, all available at this website: https://3dprint.nih.gov/collections/covid-19-response My wife is a physician who treats COVID-19 patients at a hospital with equipment shortages and an extremely high COVID-19 caseload, so I asked her to look at the site and pick out some designs. So far I’m printing face guards and ear guards. She takes whatever I’ve printed with her to work and leaves it at a protective gear supply station in the hospital where anyone gearing up can have access.
The ear guards are by far the most popular item because apparently there is no other source. I had never heard of “ear guards” before the pandemic. Healthcare workers who constantly wear a mask hanging from behind their ears end up with painful or even lacerated ears. Instead of having the mask straps looped around your ears, you loop them around the ear guard. Currently my wife is constantly wearing a regular mask over an N95 respirator to protect the respirator so it can be reused as much as possible. That is a lot of kit to have hanging off one’s ears.
Some articles about 3D printing for the coronavirus pandemic that you might find interesting: