3D printing being helpfulETH during crisis
In the novel coronavirus, the world is currently facing a situation unlike any seen before. The NCCR are complying with official advice and are remote working until the lockdown order from the Swiss government is lifted.
During this time, we are proud that in a small way, our members are working to help alleviate the shortage of medical supplies in Switzerland. The ETH domain (ETH Zurich and EPFL) have worked together to set up helpfulETH, a consortium of researchers who can put the equipment and expertise in both universities to good use.
As part of the helpfulETH programme, researcher Patrick Bedarf (digital building technologies lab, ETH Zurich) has been putting his expertise in 3D printing to good use in coordinating the efforts in the Hybrid Techniques for Architecture Design (HYTAC) lab. The project he is working on aims to use the many 3D printers in the Architecture department (D-ARCH) to produce parts for personal protection equipment (PPE) for key workers. Patrick is part of a team of eight people who are producing protective face masks with an aim of producing 6000. The headbands used to hold the masks in place are printed four at a time, with each individual piece taking 1 hour 20 minutes. Afterwards, a foil shield and strap are added, and the mask is ready to be shipped.
Patrick currently has no requests to use the printers in the arch_tec_lab but is ready to do so as soon as the situation arises. He points out that the production of face shields is an emergency response, and as soon as there are more robust and efficient methods of producing equipment, such as injection molding, they’ll move in that direction. But for now, the project must focus on what can be done effectively with the code and prototypes that have already been tested and made open source by researchers elsewhere.
There are many other projects on helpfulETH which require all kinds of skills from technical, to managerial or financial consulting and we encourage all our members to consider how they can get involved.
Photo credits: Yohan Zerdoun