Copper has been used in clinical settings to reduce the risk of bacterial and viral contamination, complementing traditional protocols, and one of the leading companies for 3D printing in this field is Copper3D, producing filaments for antimicrobial devices. In fact, copper is considered to be one of the most effective materials that exist for killing coronavirus.
“As a company, we have a very practical approach. We look for great challenges to solve and we analyze what mix, between technology and design, could lead us to an effective and novel solution to that problem. We have a great ally at our side which is antimicrobial 3D printing, with this technology and intelligent designs many problems can be solved […] All of this in very intense work loops since many of these problems are really urgent, as in the case of this COVID-19 pandemic”, said Co-founder Daniel Martínez.
And it was precisely this pandemic of COVID-19 that led Copper 3D to quickly think of a solution for the global shortage of N95 masks due to the exponential increase in world demand for this product, to which was added another additional factor; the fall in distribution chains worldwide. So they quickly worked on developing the patent for a model similar to a standard N95 mask but with some peculiarities (Antiviral, Reusable, Modular, Washable, Recyclable, Low-Cost), which were completely designed in a digital environment so that it could be downloaded anywhere in the world and 3D printed with any FDM/FFF equipment, even a low cost one. The name of this mask in “NanoHack”.
Daniel Martínez elaborates on this topic: “Now the challenge was purely logistical because there was a breakdown of the distribution chains in the world. On the other hand, 3D printing takes time, for example, one of these masks takes around 2:00 hrs. to print what forced us to think collaboratively based on the concept of Distributed Manufacturing and networks of 3D printers working 24/7 in order to make a big amount of masks in a short time. That’s when we decided that we should coordinate a worldwide network of startups, makers, universities and partner companies that will help us to print these masks, in order to quickly amplify access to this design and make it really have a global impact. And that’s exactly what we did: Hack this pandemic with Nanotechnology, 3D Printing, Distributed Manufacturing and Networks of Collaboration with many organizations and people around the world.
Additionally, Copper3D decided to immediately release the patent (which was filed and pending) so that this design would be completely Open Source. This is probably the first case in the history of 3D printing that the same design is downloaded massively worldwide to prevent more deaths in the context of a pandemic.
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