A hospital in Italy was in need of the valves after running out while treating patients for COVID-19. The hospital's usual supplier said they could not make the valves in time to treat the patient. That launched a search for a way to 3D print a replica part, and Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Ramaioli, who work at Italian startup Isinnova, offered their company's printer for the job.
However, when the pair asked the manufacturer of the valves for blueprints they could use to print replicas, the company declined and threatened to sue for patent infringement. Fracassi and Ramaioli moved ahead anyway by measuring the valves and 3D printing three different versions of them. [...]
So far, the valves they made have worked on 10 patients as of March 14th, according to Massimo Temporelli, the founder of Italian manufacturing solutions company FabLab who helped recruit Fracassi and Ramaioli to print the replica valves.
"[The patients] were people in danger of life, and we acted. Period," said Fracassi in a Facebook post. He also said that "we have no intention of profit on this situation, we are not going to use the designs or product beyond the strict need for us forced to act, we are not going to spread the drawing."
On the other hand, before you start patting yourself on the back with your Arduinos and Shapeways orders, this thread from turzaak:
So. Biocompatability. Basically it means you want materials that a) don't fall apart, and b) don't poison/kill when you use them in something that's gonna interact with the gooey meat stuff. Also means you need to be able to sterilize. For med sterilization, soap-and-water is 1st step, but not enough. 3 common methods are:
1. chemical (isopropyl alcohol, acetone, other solvents)
3. heat (autoclave, etc)
Most plastics interact badly with at least 1 of those 3. ABS, one of the most common plastics and common 3D print material, dissolves in acetone. It melts at approx 105C and breaks down above 400C. When it breaks down, the materials are carcinogenic. Autoclave temp? >121C.
ABS also is not UV resistant. Your plastic that yellows in the sun? Probs ABS. So ABS is 0 for 3 here.
What about PLA? Degrades in UV, gets eaten by some bacteria and proteins, gets gooey at 60C, and can degrade with water. Also bad. [...]
Say you want to put some fancy electronics in here. What do you reach for? If you said "my spool of wire", congrats, you possibly will kill someone, unless that spool is gold wire. Copper is toxic. You had better be REALLY SURE about encapsulation or not use it at all. [...]
Okay, so we've got that and some enclosures figured out. Now what? Well, we building a ventilator? Let's talk pneumatics. What are your tubes made of? PVC? The C stands for "chloride". Guess what it produces when it's heated to degrade! Yeah, chlorine gas. That's why you don't stick it in laser cutters, unless you want to die.
Okay, forget plastics. What if we're using metals? Welcome to the world of steam and salt water. They hate you and all your materials. Rust, salt water eating away your metal, other chem reactions, they're all here! They suck. A lot. There's a reason implants are titanium and it's not because doctors want to put expensive things in you. It's one of the few materials that works.
You have to do this sort of analysis for EVERY MATERIAL YOU USE.