Disposable gas operated ventilators

Ventilators are complicated, expensive machines. But there’s a simple design that doesn’t have a lot of moving parts and doesn’t even use electricity. Disposable gas operated ventilators might be mass produceable in a large enough volume to serve during the Covid19 surge.

In the US there is the Go2Vent from Vortran (more than meets the eye!). In India there is the SureVent, which is also for sale as an unbranded version by a unit of Bajaj Life Care. Strangely, the product sells for $90 in the US and approximately $270 in India.

If either of these companies could scale up production it would definitely help to cope with the surge. Alternatively, if an open-source group could reverse engineer these devices and release CAD files for a similar product it would allow distributed production of these devices by people with 3D printers. Definitely a promising approach!

Modifying scuba equipment to make ventilators for COVID-19 surge

This article describes a successful effort in Italy to convert full face scuba masks to full-face CPAP masks that can be used for CPAP therapy, using 3D printing. CPAP is a useful therapy for some COVID-19 patients, but is difficult to provide in hospitals because a standard CPAP mask generates a lot of aerosol spray. A full helmet-style mask solves this problem.

This is a great effort because a)it still works even if the hospital is out of ventilators (CPAP machines are cheap and plentiful in most western countries) and b)It uses a commercially available, manufactured item as the base, so only a few bits and bobs need to be 3D printed. Notice how fast they were able to ship 100 units to the local hospital!