Tl;dr: We’re immensely proud of how 3D printing is being used in the fight against Coronavirus; despite having a skeleton team in the office, dispatch is running as normal with minimal delays; we have a great opportunity to help the UK during this crisis; our partners are already helping all over the world and you can too by staying inside, getting stuck into some projects and staying safe.
We’re proud of our community in the face of this
As you’re undoubtedly aware, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and are all being urged to stay inside and to self isolate. In the outbreak of this crisis, we at E3D have learnt two things…
First of all, if you tell a population to do one thing, there’s always going to be people who do the opposite and put others at risk. Secondly, we’ve realised how effective additive manufacturing is in a crisis situation vs. traditional manufacturing methods.
As of today, there is still no cure for Coronavirus. In light of waiting for a vaccine, we’ve seen a large global demand for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - face visors and breathing apparatus; where traditional manufacturing methods proved too time consuming, 3D printing has answered the call.
To source these items by normal means (through techniques such as Injection Moulding) would take weeks. However, thanks to the versatility of 3D printers, community members were able to design and print their own solutions to this problem within hours; with Prusa being the first company to get their design officially authorised for medical use.
As we speak, thousands of visors are being printed by makers all over the planet to be used by doctors and nurses.
3D printing is literally saving lives.
And that’s not all! Additive manufacturing has also been used to create valves for ventilators in one of the most hard hit hospitals in Lombardy, Italy which ran out due to such a high number of COVID-19 cases.
We’re in a very fortunate position, to not only have access to this technology, but to have been involved in the advancement of this technology over the years; technology that can and is being used to save thousands of lives around the world.
What’s changed here:
Most of the company are now working from home and our awesome production and dispatch teams, who are still working on the premises, are taking all the necessary safety and hygiene precautions such as social distancing, and usage of hand sanitizers and protective equipment
Prusa Research, Mr. Prusa Hand Sanitiser made from IPA
Sanjay donning some protective gear while visiting the office.
Please note, that while dispatch is operating as normal for now, this is obviously dependent on changes to current restrictions, which we’re keeping a close eye on..
In short, now’s the time to get your orders in if you’re wanting to get stuck into a new challenge for some quarantine fun.
As previously announced, we've (Tearfully) cancelled every show we had lined up for this half of the year.
Any more updates regarding our circumstances will be made through our social media channels.
Instagram Covid Bunker Competition
On a more pleasant note, we’re holding a #CovidBunker competition on Instagram. To encourage our customers to self isolate, we’re offering 3 prizes of £50 store credit to spend as they desire. We do however recommend the winners purchase what ever items are most likely to keep them inside and busy during this self isolation period- (not that we as makers have ever had too much trouble with this in the past 😉.)
E3D NHS/Key Workers Discount
We're providing medical staff and other key workers who are providing support to our communities with a 20% discount, as a personal thank you from E3D. All you need to do to take advantage of this, is to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with proof of your ID and we’ll share a code with you. 😃
Our Partners & Friends
As we previously mentioned, 3D Printing has played a strong supporting role in fighting COVID-19. Many 3D Printing manufacturers have felt it their duty to get involved and support where possible. We’re proud to call a these companies not only our partners, but also our friends.
What to do when your mask doesn’t fit over your beard properly...
Prusa have been hot on the case since the start of the outbreak, working very rapidly with the Czech Ministry of Health. They've gone through dozens of face shield prototypes to get two verified within just 3 days. Their initial design has gone through many revisions with the current design 'RC3' appearing to be the best all-round option (being comfortable and highly protective).
Faceshield progression (Credit: Prusa)
As Prusa has made these designs open source, makers all over the world have been able to print these shields and provide them to local medical professionals. So far, Prusa themselves have shipped over 10,000 of these shields to hospitals in Czech and don’t see any signs of slowing down.
RC3 Face Shield (Credit: Prusa)
Operation Shields Up! Disinfecting Prusa Visors
Our friends over at Repkord have got involved by fronting a community led initiative titled: ‘Operation Shields Up!’ This movement is based around the collection, sterilisation and distribution of the aforementioned Prusa 3D-Printed shields to needed people such as ER doctors.
This endeavour is entirely volunteer based and thousands across the States have rose to contribute where they can, including our friends over at Lulzbot.
— Pooch @Repkord #OpShieldsUp 🛡⬆️ (@repkord) April 2, 2020
Operation Shields Up offers multiple ways individuals can get involved, even without owning a 3D Printer- check out this link for more information.
A similar community led initiative has also popped up titled ‘Masks For Docs’. Masks for Docs aims to connect members of the global 3D Printer community with a desire to help, with needy sources local to them that they can deliver their printed masks to.
If you’d like to find out more about this and how you can get involved, check out their website
Similar to Prusa, our friends over at BCN3D have opened up their print farm for use in fighting the coronavirus. They’re urging anyone who can positively take advantage of their print farm (of 63 printers) to get in touch.
Creality are a new addition to our partners list, and we’re excited to work with them on more projects in future. So far Creality have been:
- Distributing free N95 Masks
- Holding Q&A livestreams on their facebook page
- Designed and released an open source, 3D printable solution to provide relief to the discomfort felt from wearing a facemask all day
Also like many others, we at E3D have also been printing the Prusa visors, on our BigBox print farm.
I want to help too! How can I get started?
The first thing you can do to help is to self isolate. Just staying inside where possible is essential to prevent the slowing of the virus. Try and do your shopping online where possible and only meet friends over the internet. Self isolation on the surface sounds boring, but doesn’t need to be. Here’s some fun things E3D recommends you can get up to without leaving the comfort of your home:
- Why not try that ambitious 3D printer modification you’ve always wanted to.
- If that’s too scary, why not experiment with a new nozzle size you’ve never tried (our 0.15mm can create impressive and highly detailed models once tuned in)
- Why not use your 3D printer to fix items in your home or to upgrade your mancave
- Why not enter our instagram competition 😉
The second thing you can do to help, is to resist the urge to design a new face mask, especially if you don’t fully understand how to make them work effectively. Currently, our social media feeds are flooded with lots and lots of designs from individuals which to put in a blunt way- are likely to do more harm than good if relied upon. Josef explains this in his blog post:
“None of the designs available right now have been tested to ensure they provide the protections needed, at least none of the ones I am aware of. To help with this, we have collected as many designs as we could find, and are working with experts to see if we can verify which ones really work. What are the key focus points? First, it’s the sealing, then the filter itself, the filter to the mask, and how the mask attaches to the face – it all must be perfect. Most of us print rigid materials that are hard to make compliant for seals. Even if we can get a good seal, will it remain functional e.g. even when the wearer talks?”- From Design to Mass 3D Printing of Medical Shields in Three Days, Josef Prusa
We’re extremely proud of our community for wanting to help protect our planet, however we don’t these efforts to be in vain. So for the time being, if you want to help we recommend printing out the Prusa visors (or one of the other US NIH approved designs) and shipping them to somewhere needed locally; even if you can only print the head straps, your efforts will be greatly appreciated.
For your convenience, the wonderful Joel Telling has compiled everything makers can do to help into a pretty neat video.
Remember to follow our social media to stay updated on our situation regarding COVID-19, in the meantime we will try to keep you guys entertained on social media. We look forward to being fully operational and releasing more exciting products for you when this whole situation has blown over.
Cheers and stay safe,