HP plans to fight Covid-19 with thousands of 3D printers

HP 3D Printing Covid-19
(Image credit: HP)

HP has revealed plans on how it is using its 3D printers and expertise to help fight coronavirus, including supplying hospitals with parts, and producing the likes of critical face shields which can be used by medical staff treating patients with the virus.

HP says it has already delivered over 1,000 3D-printed parts to local hospitals, and its research and development centers across the US (and in Barcelona) are working hard with various partners to prioritize meeting the most urgent needs, and to crank up production quickly. 

The company added that it is coordinating efforts with governments and health authorities as well as industry agencies across the globe.

HP 3D Printing Covid-19

(Image credit: HP)

As mentioned, the equipment being produced includes face shields and masks, mask adjusters, respirator parts, hands-free door openers (see the above pic) and nasal swabs, among others. All these parts are currently being validated and prepared for mass production on an industrial scale.

Face shields are a particularly critical element which need to be distributed widely, and as we’ve already seen, there are existing initiatives along these lines elsewhere (3D printer firm Prusa is spearheading another scheme to make these).

HP is prioritizing making these medical shields comfortable, including work on a mask adjuster clasp so the wearer can adjust for a better fit, and not suffer from any ear pain if having to keep the shield on for a long period of time.

Other measures like a hands-free door opener could also be very useful in the likes of hospitals, care homes, or factories, allowing a person to open a door by using their elbow, rather than having to grip the handle (avoiding the chance of coming into contact with or transmitting Covid-19).

HP 3D Printing Covid-19

(Image credit: HP)

Hospital-grade face masks

More involved designs include a field ventilator, essentially a mechanical bag valve mask for temporary use in the field when dealing with coronavirus patients. There are also plans for FFP3 Face Masks, and HP is currently verifying the designs of several hospital-grade face masks (see the image above).

When finalized, all of the designs for parts which don’t require any complex assembly will be made available at this HP website, so they can be accessed by the wider 3D printing community. And if you want to get involved contributing your own design concepts or ideas, you can also do so at that site.

Enrique Lores, President and CEO at HP Inc, commented: “HP and our digital manufacturing partners are working non-stop in the battle against this unprecedented virus. We are collaborating across borders and industries to identify the parts most in need, validate the designs, and begin 3D printing them.

“Our deepest appreciation goes to our employees, partners, customers, and members of our community for their tireless efforts to support the medical professionals making a difference on the front lines.”

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).