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COVID-19: UArizona “printing” protective gear

“Printers” turn masks and ventilators
Posted at 7:33 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 22:33:16-04

TUCSON, Ariz - As medical professionals rush to respond to COVID 19, the lack of protective gear puts them at risk and risks making them unavailable to save lives.

Now the University of Arizona Medical School and Engineering School have teamed up—-to print up—-a solution.

Medical professionals—-and engineers live to solve problems. In the space of a few days they’ve come together to solve one of the biggest facing us now.

Lack of proper masks—-or any mask puts medical workers at risk of catching COVID-19 and maybe dying of it.

But there are devices that can create new masks made to order. It’s a three dimensional printer. Give it the right raw materials and the right computer instructions and it will print new masks, or a wide range of other items needed right now.

University of Arizona Engineering professor Doug Loy says Saturday morning, University President Robert Robbins asked for solutions to the supply shortage. By Saturday afternoon they had a plan.

More masks are the first project.

Now they’re examining respirators to figure out how to 3D print them.

Loy says, “We actually can make these a lot easier than the masks. And we can use a different kind of printer that uses liquid resins rather than molten plastic.”

It can take hours to create a single item but huge collections of 3D printers can work at the same time.

Once the team at University of Arizona finalizes the computer instructions 3D printers anywhere can crank out the components.

UA Medical School Professor Dr. Sairam Parthasarathy says, “There are, gosh, 20, 30 companies just here in town that have large, technical, 3D printers. They can take that code and they can start printing away.”

And team members are talking about sharing the computer code to anyone who needs these life saving supplies.