Fablab helps hospital Italy with 3D-printed valve for ventilators

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A fab lab has helped an Italian hospital in need arrange a 3D printer to manufacture a valve for intensive care ventilators. The valve functioned and could be used for the ventilation of Covid-19 patients.

Massimo Temporelli, founder of the Milan fablab, received a call Friday morning from an editor of Giornale di Brescia, a newspaper in one of the regions of Italy worst hit by Covid-19. A fablab is a joint workshop where makers can use devices such as 3D printers and laser cutters. The editor said the hospital in Brescia urgently needed valves for ventilators in the intensive care unit. The regular supplier could not deliver it in time, he writes on Facebook.

According to him, failure to find a solution would cost lives. The editor asked him if it was possible to 3D print the valve. Temporelli then called fablabs and companies and found a company that was willing to bring a 3d printer to the hospital. There they made a design of the valve and produced it.

Friday evening they reported that the part was functioning. “Currently, ten patients are guided in breathing by a machine with a 3D-printed valve,” writes the engineer. He suggests makers organize to be able to print them on demand, through the Italian Labs network of fablabs in the country.

Last weekend another 100 valves were delivered by a local company. These are made according to 3d printing media on the basis of laser sintering. The director of the health organization of the Brescia region tells Il Fatto Quotidiano that someone will probably be angry because the design of the part is patented. “But people are dying here, we can’t stop.”