Open-Source Designs & 3D Printing

Early concept designs from the Open Source Ventilator project.

New collaborative open-source COVID-19 response projects have recently been launched, allowing engineers not affiliated with corporate projects to contribute to the global effort.

Some notable open-source projects include:

  • The Pandemic Ventilator Project – Aiming to build a simple and robust open-source library of ventilator designs that anyone in ventilator-deficient communities can source and build locally, either in industrial manufacturing facilities or by hand. The project will provide engineering, technical, and supply chain support to get designs off the screen and into hospitals.
  • Open Source Ventilator Ireland – Building a Field Emergency Ventilator (FEV) in collaboration with the Irish Health Service. Will include other design challenges as they arise from frontline healthcare workers.
  • The Ennomotive Challenge – Seeking to develop low-cost, easy-to-build ICU ventilators through the adaptation of standard industrial components or through other everyday-life objects whose availability is fast, easy and universal.

The number of these well-meaning COVID-19 engineering projects continues to expand and is difficult to track. To help support these efforts, PTC is offering free use of its Onshape product development platform for qualifying projects. Onshape’s online CAD, data management and collaboration tools were built for remote teams working in different locations. It’s possible to equip design teams of any size (1-1000 contributors) instantly worldwide on any device.

Free time-limited subscriptions to Onshape will be considered for projects that:

  • Provide a solution contributing to the treatment or research of COVID-19
  • Address a coronavirus-related problem impacting a community
  • Make their product design open-source (public) for the greater good
  • Are not created for profit

During the pandemic, PTC is also offering free use of Vuforia Chalk, a productivity app that leverages augmented reality to enable offsite and on-site employees for collaborative operation, maintenance, and repair products of all kinds. It’s like a more powerful Facetime for industrial settings and it’s as easy to set up and use. For more details, click here.

For the challenge of designing and building prototypes quickly, 3D-printing technology is invaluable – and the entire additive manufacturing industry is rallying right now to speed up new solutions. Stratasys, Markforged, Formlabs, and Desktop Metal all are actively involved in COVID-19 initiatives.

In addition, 3D printer users – even at the high school level – are pooling their resources to contribute to local small-batch manufacturing of personal protection products.

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