Apply 3D printing to life-saving respirators - COVID-19

When can 3D printing offer a solution for life-saving respirators?

Apply 3D printing to life-saving respirators - COVID-19

At the moment there is a great demand for life-saving respirators for COVID-19 patients. The 3D printing of medical devices can then offer a solution. Precisely because there is worldwide demand, it is not always clear which wishes there are and which requirements are set for them.

For the website 3D Printing Media Network, co-founder & CEO Davide Sher spoke to IC specialists. He discovered the various assisted breathing options available in an intensive care unit for the treatment of various types of respiratory failure caused by COVID-19.

A short summary that we are happy to share:

Most 3D printing related tools focus on non-invasive methods

When a patient has a severe lack of oxygen and / or excess carbon dioxide in the blood due to a respiratory condition (respiratory failure), there are two types of treatment methods; the non-invasive and the invasive methods. Most 3D printing related tools focus on non-invasive methods.

Examples of non-invasive ventilation equipment where 3D printing can be useful:

Nasal cannulas

3D printing can be used for custom adapters for the nostrils.

Non-rebreather mask (NRB Mask)
3D printing can be used to produce custom adapters and valves to connect the mask to the reservoir or oxygen source.

AmbuBallon (BVM)
3D printing can be used to produce custom adapters and valves to connect the Ambu bag to the face mask and / or a fan.

Venturi-mask (Ventimask)
3D printing can be used to produce venturi valves to address supply chain problems in an emergency.

Mask or helmet for positive pressure ventilation (CPAP), BiPAP and positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP)

3D printing can be used to produce custom adapters and valves to connect the CPAP mask or helmet to a ventilator or other oxygen source. 3D printing can also be used to reverse engineer and prototype new connectors and valves in a disrupted supply chain. 3D printing can also be used for mounting clips.


Examples of 3D printing applications in semi-invasive and invasive ventilation

Laryngeal mask (LMA)

3D printing can be used to produce custom adapters and valves to connect the LMA to an oxygen source or an exhalation tube. In addition, 3D printing could also be used by the standard manufacturer or a distributor with supply chain problems to produce a mold to manufacture the silicone mask through an indirect 3D printing process.

Tracheal tube

3D printing can be used to produce custom adapters and valves to connect the Laryngeal Mask to a regulated oxygen flow source (from ventilator to patient) or an exhalation tube (from patient to ventilator).

Fans for intensive care

3D printing can provide an alternative to temporarily unavailable parts assembled by traditional manufacturers. 3D printing was also able to provide immediate help through the rapid development and production of custom splitters that allow multiple patients to be connected to a single ventilator.


The complete article is published at 3D Printing Media Network, shared by us with the intention to convey knowledge and to create clarity.

We would be happy to receive substantive additions and possibilities regarding this subject.

Read more about 3D printing during Corona-COVID-19

2 months ago
Laura van den Biggelaar