3d Printing COVID-19 Response Webinar Series
3D Printing PPE with MIT Professor Marty Culpepper – April 17th 2020
Full Webinar Video
Manufacturing Critically Needed Medical Supplies: 3d Printing Myths, Sterilization and the Scale of the Opportunity to Help Out
Marty Culpepper, MIT
- Current priorities: how to slow down the burn rate of PPE and how to fill in gaps in supply.
- As the country begins to open throughout the summer, PPE will be needed for more than just professionals. Opportunities will emerge to provide useful products to people on a much broader scale.
- Very few people or entities in the US can fabricate face shields at a meaningful rate.
- Every time someone buys plastic on the supply chain, it takes away plastic from people creating the shields at rates of hundreds of millions per day – which are the people who matter.
- When a nurse or doctor goes into the room with a patient, they need to wear PPE; when they leave, they have to take it off. The need to dispose of PPE immediately after use is the reason for a high burn rate.
- What’s being developed at MIT right now: a Bluetooth stethoscope, making it possible for one person to don PPE and enter a patient’s room, use a stethoscope, and consult with other non-PPE-wearing medical professionals using a Bluetooth connection.
- What’s helpful: any kind of application that does not need to go through the FDA approval process, provides benefit, and has low barriers in terms of getting into hospitals. You should not have to introduce new techniques, and sanitization shouldn’t be hard to manage.
- Want to help? Get into contact with COVID task forces in your state and identify a) what is needed and b) the quantity needed.
- Two kinds of PPE are floating around right now, making all types of PPE useless – one kind looks like it’s supposed to work; the other kind does work.
- If you procure a design, you must also have the ability to get your design tested out by clinical people. Consider starting out with your local EMS and moving up the chain.
- Some hospitals will pay for these products; often, funding is donation-based; otherwise, FEMA and state equivalents pay for them.
- MIT face shields were designed to be disposable and not reused. It is not recommended to reuse them even after wiping them down.
- There are lots of good masks sitting around unused because it’s difficult to tell a real one from a counterfeit. The filter media used differentiates a useable mask from a non-useable one.
- If your company has PPE that can be donated, ensure it is in unopened, professionally-approved packaging and find a way to donate it to hospitals – e.g. a local entity handling donations or local government who can take care of the donations.
- Do not apply 3D-printed products directly to human skin.
- If there’s a way of protecting products – a 3D-printed structure that should be covered with a non-contaminating surface – this would be beneficial, but you should talk to hospitals before designing and manufacturing it.
- The efficacy of 3D printing depends on the material used, if there are enough products available, and if clinical people are able to use it.
- Contact somebody local to you and see what they need. If people have engineering skill and the ability to integrate clinical skill and connect with those who know what’s needed, they can embark on that process independently.
- Every minute that’s not well-spent is impacting lives that can be saved.