URGENT VIDEO UPDATE FROM INKSMITH (MARCH 23):
In light of the changes enacted by the Ontario and Canadian government, we can no longer ask for our community members to leave their homes to physically drop off the parts at our Gaukel location. We will continue to accept any 3D printed parts but we ask that you consider mailing the parts instead of making physical drop-offs.
March 21, 2020:
We're making an urgent call to all 3D printer owners in Waterloo Region to help us produce PPE face shields to combat COVID-19. We are currently working on creating a laser cuttable file to increase production but any help 3D printing headbands in the meantime will make an impact.
If you or someone you know has a 3D printer we would greatly appreciate any help printing these files. We will take care of assembly and providing the clear face shield and elastic head strap. We just need help producing the 3D printed parts.
Below you can find the CAD model file created by Prusa3D with the recommended print settings for slicing.
All 3D printed PPE headbands can be dropped off at our office at 44 Gaukel Street in Kitchener. If you are interested in helping print parts please start doing so!
Please note, InkSmith is working with a team of doctors to ensure all the necessary protocols are taken in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have set up a touchless drop-off system for those wanting to contribute 3D prints. After they're received our team will be sanitizing all items with an ozone generator. From there, the hospitals will execute their own practices for disinfecting the masks prior to use.
FILES TO PRINT:
If you're only able to print one part and not both that's totally fine. We will take any 3D printed parts we can get.
Q1: Are you selling my donations?
A1: No. We are producing some fully laser-cut face shields on our own that we reserve the right to sell (we want to keep our team employed), but any parts that you donate will become part of a shield that is donated completely for free to help with the COVID-19 response effort in Ontario. We will also donate the other components such as the PETG clear shield that attaches to the parts you print. We’re all in this together and our company has a long history of social responsibility and philanthropy.
Q2: I saw on social media that you have a laser-cut design now. Do you still need my parts?
A2: Yes. We like to Hedge our bets. Our laser-cut design lets us produce thousands per day, and we can guarantee they are clean since they are made in our facility and we have full control from end-to-end. The 3D printed versions that we are crowdsourcing with your help will go out as donations to under-funded clinics and front-line groups to help them stay safe. More information about each face shield version can be found here.
Q3: Will anyone actually use this stuff?
A3: Yes. While we are currently in the process of getting approved for a Health Canada License, we can promise that there is an urgent and immediate need for hundreds or thousands of shields in Ontario alone. Our advisors have informed us that even if the 3D printed shields aren’t approved for use in the highest-risk situations, there is still a huge need. We have clinics, family physicians, pharmacists etc all asking for help. Every one of these “DIY shields” that they use is one more “approved” one that can be reserved for the high-risk users in the short term.
Q4: Can I be compensated for shipping costs, time, or materials?
A4: Unfortunately, no. At this time anything you produce and ship to us is a complete donation to the overall effort. Please only produce what you can afford to and don’t risk the financial stability of your family. This is a crowdsourced effort and the crowd is quite large, so saving the world is spread out across all of us. We’re in this together. Every little bit helps, so take pride in any contribution you can make.
Q5: Should I buy more printers to help?
A5: No, not unless you were going to buy more anyway. We sell 3D printers and even we don’t think this is wise. 3D printing is simply not mature enough to produce anything at scale… yet. As the world responds to this crisis, many major manufacturers are ramping up other types of production quickly. Our community effort is meant to buy them time. We can respond in hours or days, but they’ll be ready to handle the needed volume in a few months.
Q6: Are you looking at other PPE or medical devices too?
A6: Yes. There are many designs for many things but the goal is to help protect the workers and not just make them look stylish. There are multiple levels of protection needed and the most often cited (on social media) is “N95”. N95 masks are one of the highest levels of protection, but there are many scenarios where other, less stringent, things will work. We have no intention of producing N95-equivalent products with this effort. However, we are looking at multiple designs that might replace the simpler surgical (or “procedure”) mask. If these can be crowdsourced you’ll hear about it five seconds after we get the go-ahead from Health Canada. We promise! For now, please stay focused on this specific design of face shield because there are many, high-value use cases for it and an immediate, daily need for them.
Q7: Are you an approved MDE supplier?
A7: Not yet, but with any luck we will be tomorrow. Our goal is to get the final assembly process certified so you can keep helping make the parts at home. With the help of Communitech we’ve filed the applications, done the fast-track paperwork and are in daily contact with Health Canada. They want us to help meet the need just as much as you all want to help fill it.
Q8: Are these shields disposable?
A8: All of the 3D printed PPE parts we will be producing are limited to single-day or single-person use and will be disposed of after. The reason for this is that the 3D printed parts are porous and cannot be properly cleaned with disinfectant. For this reason, we need to produce as many 3D printed parts as possible, which is why we need your help! We know that you probably wish these parts were reusable but it’s just not worth the risk. That being said, any 3D printed parts we can provide are immensely helpful for frontline workers, even if they’re only single-use.
As for the laser cut version of the PPE face shield InkSmith is manufacturing, these will be reusable. This version of the face shield is made out of a PETG material and will withstand the disinfection process.
For information about the difference between these two types of masks please visit our webpage.
Q9: What to 3D print with? PETG?
A9: PLA and ABS are ideal. They print fast and are strong. PETG is fine if you want to spend the extra money on filament and have your printer dialed-in perfectly. Otherwise speed is more important and you should save the PETG for your own projects.
Q10: I have other designs! Where do I send them?
A10: At this time we are gathering information for the requirements of what is needed for actual medical use. We want to avoid producing look-a-like movie props and instead protect the health of front-line workers and slow the spread of disease. This means that we aren’t in a position to review the alternative designs that are sent to us. Once we have specific requirements we may post some sort of design competition for a prototype. Until then, let's all stay focused on the design we’ve already chosen.
Q11: Can I modify things at all?
A11: No. We need these parts to be exactly the same size and shape. If your print bed is just barely too small and you try to shrink the design below 100% we will not be able to use the parts you make and the plastic will be wasted. We also can’t accept parts that are printed in pieces and glued together. The only acceptable modification is laying out the model in the slicing software to print multiples at a time if you have a large enough print volume.
Q12: Is it better to deliver them to you in small batches daily or larger batches twice a week?
A12: The fewer times you leave your house the safer we all are. Given the size of the response we’ve gotten for this effort there is a natural stagger to the deliveries already. For now, save some gas and try to bring us 10+ pieces at a time, or make a delivery twice a week, whichever happens first. If we need them daily we’ll let you know.
Q13: Can I put them in bags to make sure they don’t get contaminated?
A13: You’re welcome to transport them to our drop bin in bags, but we ask that you please don’t put the bags (or boxes, or any kind of packaging) in the drop bin with them. Our goal is to minimize the contact opportunities between all the parties. Our drop-box has an ozone generator in it and we close the lid and run that for a few hours to kill everything organic inside. If your parts are in bags or boxes then that interferes with this process and puts our team at risk. Also, please don’t touch the other parts in the bin for the same reason. Thank you!