COVID-19

This page is setup to assist with the current Corona virus pandemic. The seriousness of this situation is alarming. Self-isolation and that of your family may mean, caring for those individuals –on your own. Hospitals may be overwhelmed, not accepting new patients, care for any kind of health condition may be difficult to receive (source in UK here). Shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE’s) are also alarming. It is due to this concern that I’m making this prototype (below) available to help expedite testing, improvements and community support.

Around March 17th, I had read several articles where n95 masks are very hard to come by. Many hospitals are re-using the same masks for much longer than their intended life or making do with bandannas or scarves. When I read this, my heart sank. The very next day I decided to try to do something about it. Please read highlighted sections before continuing!

*NOTE – The author of this page is not a medical professional, nor an expert in pandemics, nor well-versed in any of this. I’m experiencing this for the first time, just like you. I’m a tech guy, just trying to help in a very difficult situation. All information below will have sources cited to help make this informative and accurate as possible.

Community Assistance

The following are 3D printable items that have been found to be helpful. These were not designed by me and are available for printing today. I recommend taking a close look at these and printing them for your local hospitals. Also, I recommend donating anything you print. I personally began printing the Protective Face Shields to help my community.

  • Prusa Protective Face Shield – These face shields should be used with an N-95 face mask, if available. There are stackable models available so you can print multiple shields at one time.
  • 3D Printable Mask for COVID-19 – Please see the link for details and download for this mask. I think it’s awesome that one is already available and it appears to be a great design.

Our first batch of 18 3D Printed Face Shields will be going out on 4/2/2020 to local area hospitals.

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Related Information

3D Printed Facemask

*NOTE – See above for a 3D Printed Face Shield and Mask that are available today!

The following is a prototype being worked on. It is not to be used for the current situation as there is no testing that has been done to determine it’s effectiveness. The model is available for download should you wish to help improve the design or take a look at the current version.

Prototype Video

PPE’s or Personal Protective Equipment is being rationed for many healthcare workers world-wide. Many are being asked to use the same masks repeatedly (even multiple days or weeks) which of course decreases their effectiveness (source here). With literally hundreds of thousands of 3D printers out there, collectively we should be able to help fill that void of supplies. However, in doing so provides some dangers. The masks need to be inspected closely to make sure there are no print defects, splits between the layers and careful quality inspection. PLA isn’t as flexible as an N95 mask and therefore could crack/split so be cautious of this and inspect before every use! That said, having this should mean better protection than nothing at all and probably better than a bandanna or scarf.

In an effort to help reduce our dependency on N95 masks, given they are virtually unavailable and manufactured in China, I’ve been working on a 3D Printed solution. I don’t have the equipment, nor expertise to identify the best filtration material to be used. I’ll leave that for the experts, here is an article that may be helpful. What I can do is design a device that can be worn and will utilize whatever filtration material the user has available. You will need a 3D Printer to make this device. If you don’t have one, perhaps you could ask a friend or relative to print one for you (drop it off at your doorstep and call once it’s there, don’t enter the home).

Next Steps

I’m hoping in the coming days to get some feedback from some friends in the medical profession and I have sent this information to the CDC for their review. I’m sure they are quite overwhelmed, so not sure if/when I may hear back. If you can help verify this design, perform your own tests and make recommendations for improvement, it would be greatly appreciated! Please do not post this to Thingiverse (or elsewhere), I want to be able to update versions easily in real-time and have a single place to do that.

An interesting report of the best materials for making DIY masks may be found here. At the top of the list is, of course, the N95 mask which is difficult for most to acquire. Below that is Vacuum cleaner bags. Again, I can’t tell you what to use, I honestly don’t know but use this page for ideas/suggestions!

Tips for the Mask

  • Keep your printer bed leveled frequently, more so than normal. Any deviations may cause cracks/slippage which will render the print unusable.
  • Use PLA plastic, it’s non-toxic.
  • Always wear eye protection when using this mask for added safety!
  • Hold each print up to the light (or flashlight), if you see any imperfections such as light clearly showing through to the inside of the print, cracks, throw it away – clean the bed, re-level the bed or possibly use a different filament.
  • Place your hands over each of the air intakes tightly, place the mask over your nose and mouth and breath in. It should be nearly impossible to breath in while covered. If that’s the case, the print is ready for a filter. If you are making it for someone else, be sure to disinfect the mask thoroughly before giving it to them.
  • Use the filter cap to trace the circle against the material you wish to use. Cut it and make sure that it fully covers the inside of the intake (no gaps). Add a 2nd layer, if you can breath through the material.
  • If the filter caps don’t hold tightly, some strong tape to keep them in place.

Mask Download

Before downloading, read and understand the following:

THIS IS A PROTOTYPE: This is not an approved medical device, there may be issues / defects. I am requesting assistance from agencies and individuals but have NOT YET RECEIVED feedback. I cannot and will not guarantee that it meets any usage criteria. I can’t verify it’s effectiveness against the current situation, I don’t have the equipment nor the expertise to do so. If I receive any input from the CDC, WHO or others I will update this statement. Until such time, do not use this device for any medical purposes – if you do –it is entirely at your own risk!

Latest Update (3/26/2020) : filterMask_20200326_R6.zip

Below are some images of the current prototype:

Resin

A friend who has a resin printer gave this model a try and the results are absolutely amazing! Definitely adding a resin printer to my future shopping list.

Prototype – Resin Print
Prototype – Resin Print

PLA

  • Printed in Hatchbox PLA (White)
  • Very low-quality print
Prototype – Inside Mask
Prototype – Front View
Prototype – Side View

Helpful Resources

About COVID-19

  • Is there a cure? Unfortunately, currently there is no vaccine to prevent or cure the corona-virus. (source here).
  • How is it spread? The virus is spread person-to person, primarily. It is spread with close contact, within 6 feet of a contagious person. Additionally, it is spread through respiratory fluids when an infected person sneezes or coughs (source here).
  • How contagious is it? It has been commonly stated that a two-week quarantine period is being used for re-testing those who have acquired the virus. Researchers investigating cases in China indicate that patients could continue to spread the virus for up to 37 days (source here).

Avoiding COVID-19

  • Good hygiene – washing hands often for at least 20 seconds, most importantly after having been in a public place. If no soap and water is available, use hand sanitizer which contains at least 60% alcohol. (source here)
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth – If your hands have not been washed thoroughly, avoid touching these areas.
  • Avoid public places – If you go out in public, use common sense. Don’t shake hands, keep your hands washed/sanitized. There have been no confirmed cases of transmission by use of public toilets, but I personally would not rule it out.

Concerns

  • It has been widely questioned and verified that few are getting tested (source here and here). What the exact numbers are, no one knows. It appears safe to say, many more may be carrying the virus unknowingly. Without the ability to get tested, we don’t have the actual numbers and those that need care are not getting it (source here).

Care for those Infected

This is a difficult section to write. It is based on the assumption that at some point in the future, it’s a decision that may have to be made. None of us asked for this, few of us have the expertise to deal with it, yet many may be forced to provide care for those we love. As we have seen with Italy, the entire country has essentially been in quarantine since March 12th 2020 (see here). I’ve seen videos, which I refuse to post here, where loved ones were stranded in their homes with their deceased relatives. Calls for help never came. If the situation unfolds similarly in the USA, we’re in for a very difficult time of our lives. Plan for the worst, but hope and pray for the best.

As care information is available, I’ll add it here. As always, please see the CDC guidelines for information.

Preparation

You’ll want to make sure you have some of the basics readily available:

  • Bottled Water – a good idea to have a stash of this on-hand in the event that you aren’t able to get clean running water from your local water authority. This would be a highly unlikely scenario but water is essential for survival.
  • Food Supply – Start a garden, plant seeds (inside or in a greenhouse), acquire some extra food (canned, jars, etc.) to provide a 2-3 month supply for you and your family.
  • Medical Kit – Create a medical kit to include such things as fever reducers (Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc.), N95 masks, CPR Rescue masks, etc.
  • Survival Kit – This is the last kit I hope any of us would need.
  • Self Defense – Should this situation get out of hand, it may be necessary to protect your family from theft or intimidation. If people become desperate for food and water, they may try to take yours. This is a personal decision and no recommendation will be made here.

As we are seeing today, many companies are asking employees to work from home to minimize exposure. This is true with my day job, I’m receiving daily e-mail updates on this very subject. If this trend continues, at some point certain basics may be hard to find or not available. DO NOT HOARD, take only what you need, respect item limits and leave the rest for others. It sickens me that some people will buy all of some item to re-sell it. We’re in this together, hoarding is just stupid and cruel.

Keep a calm and cool head, your family will need you to be strong. That said, there are some considerations which may impact how you choose to look at a worst-case scenario. Here are some examples:

  • Gas Stations – high-traffic areas such as gas stations may begin to close or open intermittently. Workers in fear of exposure may not go into work.
  • Trucking / Logistics Networks – Unable to refuel due to gas station shutdowns, quarantines and layoffs may mean products we depend on may not get delivered.
  • Mail Delivery – While no known transmissions have occurred from the mail itself. I’ve not seen any information on an exposed mail carrier nor if there are procedures in place to minimize risk to the carrier, delivery operations or potential to mail recipients. See this article which indicates the virus could last 17 days (or more).
  • Utilities – When quarantines are setup, utility workers may find it difficult to operate the systems that provide electricity and water to their customers. Also, key logistics networks may mean keeping the very basics operational difficult or impossible. Some areas may see temporary outages which may persist for some time.

Other Items being Tested

These are some items I’ve purchased recently which I’m currently testing. I may cover them in-depth in the future, but not now. Hopefully none of it will be needed and if not I’ll be celebrating by taking the family on a camping trip so we can use them at that time! These are primarily options that may be helpful if SHTF. Again, I hope I don’t need these for everyday use, but if needed I’ll have them.

Tools

  • LED Bulbs Camping Lantern Flashlight – These are solar/USB rechargeable. I have not tried them yet (still in the box).
  • Tesla Lighter 2.0 – This is a really handy thing to have, I ordered x2 of these. It’s great in that it can easily start a fire, no fuel is needed. It also has a built-in flashlight and an emergency whistle. It can be recharged over USB (using the solar charger above). Don’t touch the plasma arcs, it will shock the crap out of you -I found this out quickly.
  • Emergency Solar Hand Crank Portable Radio,AM/FM NOAA Weather Radio – If cellphones can’t be charged and you want to get the latest news/information, radio may be the best option. I have not tried it yet (still in the box).
  • Emergency Survival Kit 13 in 1 – This kit has a lot of tools in a single package that might come in handy. I have not tried them yet (still in the box).

Battery Power

The following are items to provide limited power for running small devices.

  • Solar Charger (24000mAh) Solar Power Bank with 2 USB Ports – I have started testing this and it works. When I received it, the battery bars were at 2 (out of 4). I placed this device on the dash in my vehicle and it charged to the full 4 bars after several hours. Obviously, you’ll need extra USB cables for whatever type of device you need to charge.
  • 40min iQuick USB Battery Charger – If you need rechargeable batteries, this should suffice. There are AA and AAA chargers which can be used with your existing gear. Since they charge via USB, you can use the above solar charger to re-charge these batteries.

Medical

  • MCR Medical Pack of 5 CPR Rescue Mask – If hospitals become overwhelmed with patients, the ability to provide life-saving CPR may be necessary. I’ve ordered these, haven’t received them and therefore have no knowledge regarding their effectiveness.
  • First Aid Kit (291 Pieces + Bag) – Packed with Hospital Grade Medical Supplies for Emergency and Survival situations. Again, it’s on order not sure about the quality of the contents.
  • Pulse Rate Monitor – This device clips to the finger and is able to allow you to check the pulse. It requires x2 AAA batteries to operate. See above for battery power solutions.