A COVID-19 breakthrough using $2 of 3D-printed plastic? These volunteers made it happen

TORONTO // MAY 7, 2020  — A volunteer team of 3D printer enthusiasts have made a vital contribution in the fight against COVID-19, helping to bring to reality an original design for a connector that enables a life-saving ventilator to be safely shared between multiple patients. Working with the research team at Toronto’s University Health Network, the results have been published this week in Critical Care Explorations, a peer-reviewed journal. The open-source design has been made available for 3D printing worldwide. 

Working at the Toronto Tool Library Makerspace near Queen and Spadina, the volunteers have also developed and delivered hundreds of protective face shields and mask tension relief bands to support front-line health workers. 

A ventilator connector part being fabricated on a 3D printer.

The ventilator connector, fabricated from a 3D-printed connector part and a jar from Dollarama, went through more than 100 hours of thorough testing at UHN to ensure it meets hospital standards for safety and durability. The innovation went from idea to final design over a weekend, then thorough testing and into real-life use in less than two weeks — a process that normally takes 18 months. It’s a testament to the team’s dedication and to the need for rapid response in this unprecedented time. 

The team has formed a larger group working on production of PPE for senior home facilities and support workers. They continue to develop other essential devices that are currently in shortage and may be used in response to COVID-19.

Got a printer? Join the cause! For more info or to donate equipment and 3D printing materials, visit covid19.ttlmakerspace.com

For charitable donations: canadahelps.org/en/dn/39887

Media inquiries: Ariel Teplitsky, ateplitsky@gmail.com

Our Work in the News

Volunteers use 3D printers to make personal protective equipment during pandemic,” Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press, April 26, 2020

How a doctor used his mentor’s 30-year-old paper to make a split ventilator for two people,” Fresh Air with Nana aba Duncan, CBC Radio One, May 9, 2020

Personalized Ventilation to Multiple Patients Using a Single Ventilator: Description and Proof of Concept,” Critical Care Explorations, May 2020

IBBME student partners with Toronto makers to aid in COVID19 equipment production and hospital R&D projects,” Kate Kazlovich, University of Toronto Engineering, May 15, 2020