At least 30 Majorcan volunteers with 3D printers in their homes are preparing to print pieces that make up respirators which are urgently needed for coronavirus patients.
This group is part of a national network called Coronavirus Makers and they've created a prototype respirator in just 3 days, with the help of Doctors, Anaesthetists and Engineers which is being tested in a hospital in Asturias.
"As soon as they give the go-ahead, we will start building the devices," says Víctor Gómez López, Coordinator of the Balearic team.
Foreign teams are also waiting for the product to be validated so that they can start printing the parts overseas.
The 3D printers in Majorca have already manufactured eight blades which are part of the respirator and are also printing face masks and face shields and handing them out to stores and pharmacies to protect staff.
The group is appealing to anyone who has a 3D printer to join the initiative and says a crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help pay for the project.
“Until now we have been throwing away the material that we had at home but it is running out. Mallorca Electrónica and the Luis Vives School are collaborating with us and have donated 4,300 acetate sheets to make the screens,” says Víctor Gómez.
Fablab Mallorca is organising the movement in the Balearics and the team collaborates very closely with 3D Soma.
"The project was born out of the need to care for patients," says Víctor Gómez.
He also says negotiations are currently underway with the Health Ministry at National level, with a view to collaborating with hospitals and helping patients who have tested positive.
In Italy, two Engineers who replicated a respirator that has a commercial cost of 10,000 euros are being sued by the company that owns the patent. Those involved in the Coronavirus Makers project in Spain don't have that problem.
“In our case everything is open hardware, there are no patents here, it is a model developed from scratch. There are people who have gone three days without sleep to create this 3D printed prototype,” said a Coronavirus Makers spokesperson.