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The Role of the FDM Machines in the Covid-19 Process

We examined why FDM printers remained at the forefront in the fight against Covid-19.

The Role of the FDM Machines in the Covid-19 Process

The 3D machines are divided into different technologies by the materials they use. The FDM, SLS, SLA, MJF and Colorjet technologies are accompanied by different techniques that being used for 3D printing that uses plastic and metal materials, such as the bioprinters. In this article, we will analyze the FDM technology and take a closer look at why it is distinguished in the fight against Coronavirus.

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in huge problems for the supply-demand chain, with many companies facing serious problems with logistics. Insufficient numbers of respiratory devices and the over-loading of the health system all contributed in that. 

In Italy, the usage of a 3D printer to produce a respiratory device inspired the whole world and reminded people that these problems could be solved locally, and in a short amount of time. The machines helped produce the devices that would be a lifesaver for the whole word and uploaded the blueprints into open-sourced websites. Every new product that was added to the database helped save new lives. Communities were founded in order to develop these devices, and they consisted mostly of engineers and doctors. Of course, there are obvious reasons to why the machines played a different role in the fight against Covid-19.

Wide Usage

The most common usage of 3D printers was with the FDM machines. With the lowest prices being approximately 100 TRY, these devices are also easy to use. This way, the FDM machines were no longer exclusive to workshops and offices, and they could be easily seen in houses and hospitals.

Low Expenses

The FDM machines are usually made of plastic, metal, and wood, which are all low in expenses. The average cost of these materials is equal to approximately 100 TRY per kilograms. The acceptable fees resulted in different experiments with the machines, in every step of the way. The fact that you could use a mask that was developed by these machines in the treatment and protection against this disease proved to be very inspirational.

The Variety of Materials

The FDM technology includes TPU, PET, ULTEM, and PEEK, amongst many others. This option of variety proved to be very useful and made the usage of FDM machines a very common thing. Thus, the FDM machines were very effective against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mass Manufacturing

Between the finishing of the design and the beginning of manufacturing, there are only minutes thanks to the FDM machines. This process was a costly one on the older models, which one single mistake costs a high amount of time and money, thus taking weeks to make sure that every step was complete and correct. However, the FDM machines shortened the preparation time considerably and saved many lives, thanks to effective time management.

Open Source

As the 3D printer machines get more and more common, the open-sourced materials expanded and become more easily accessible too. We have dived deep on our blog post about the open-sourced resources too. The open-source culture helped with the sharing process, and as a result, there were a lot more materials to use.

All of these helped with:

Development of new products in a short period of time

Mass manufacturings of the necessary machines 

To considerably lower the costs

To considerably lower the risks

To sum it up; the FDM machines made the lives of health professionals; the doctors, nurses and the first responders’ jobs and lives by shortening the manufacturing time, helping with the mass manufacturing, and the quantity and quality of the needed materials.

Every single volunteer had the chance to play a role against the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to the opportunities that were provided to them by the FDM metal 3D printing machines.

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