We are experiencing an unprecedented shortage of personal protective equipment and makers around the world are collaborating on efforts to temporarily alleviate the situation. Lowell Makes has joined this movement and is working on several projects, including 3D-printed masks and face shields.
A note on safety: Lowell Makes is taking great care to collaborate with healthcare professionals and other makers to develop these items; however these items have not been tested or approved for medical use by any relevant authorities. Our 3D-printed mask is not an FDA or NIOSH approved N95 replacement. Lowell Makes makes no guarantees that these masks will prevent transmission of COVID-19. Please continue to adhere to current CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 and use open source PPE at your own risk. Please see updated FDA Guidance on 3D-printed PPE HERE.
Please read our FAQs before contacting Lowell Makes directly.
March 31, 2020 Project Update
First, thank you. We are so grateful for all the support we’ve received in the form of printed mask components, donated supplies/funding, and constructive brainstorming. Hundreds of you have helped Lowell Makes launch this effort and gather over 800 3D-printed masks for our local healthcare workers and first-responders, who are the real heroes.
Second, we could never have imagined how quickly this project would spread. The maker community is immensely generous, and we are prouder than ever to be a part of it. Lowell Makes is entirely volunteer-run and we’ve been working hard to respond to each one of you, but we apologize if anyone was missed. We have set up this FAQ page (below) and a designated e-mail address for anything not addressed on the website.
Finally, we have an update on our project. Our masks have been tested at several local hospitals and performed well. Tomorrow (April 1st), a hospital will pick up a few hundred masks, and we’ll continue distributing the rest to local facilities.
We’ve advised makers outside of Lowell to follow our approach to distribution so far: work with each local hospital for testing and validation of any open-source PPE. This strategy has helped us get very focused feedback and develop relationships, but we recognize that this model doesn’t scale to address the widespread and long-term needs of the healthcare system.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working with other maker groups to incorporate feedback into our design. We’ve also been closely following the research of teams across the country who are engaging in similar efforts. Some designs are on track to seek federal approval, which would reduce the need to go through each individual hospital’s validation process.
Since the open-source PPE movement is evolving rapidly, we want to be ready to pivot quickly when a new design comes to the fore. On the assembly front, we have plenty of mask shells to keep us busy, so we are asking our volunteer printers to do the following:
- Bring any masks you have printed to us. See our FAQs below for drop-off information. These will be distributed to local facilities.
- Don’t start any new prints. We want to conserve our filament and be ready to start printing when the next design is selected.
We are so grateful for everyone who has joined and supported us during this project. We will be in touch when it’s time to start your printers.
Stay home, stay safe, and keep making cool stuff.
Resources for Makers:
- Current COVID-19 Makers Responses
- Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies: Our Intent, Needs, and Your Role
- Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies Facebook Group
Thank You to the many individual 3D-printers who have dropped off bags of masks, the new and old friends who have sent us supplies and funding, the makerspaces who have shared their ideas and resources, the hospitals who have collaborated with us, the local legislators who have supported us, and the corporate donors who have helped ensure we are equipped to keep making, including:
Joann Fabric of Westford, MA
Ace Hardware of Middleton, MA