Open Source Ventilator Project Looking for Input

I know there have been a good number of threads about 3D printing ventilators and other medical equipment for use during this pandemic. This is not another one of those threads.

Instead, I was asked by a former robotics parent to help spread the word about a project called VentilAid. Their goal is to design an open-source ventilator utilizing 3D printed parts. While there are a lot of designs out there currently (and a lot of risk of non-standards conforming devices being used in lieu of certified devices), this group stands out by not rushing out to have everyone make these for use in hospitals immediately (they explicitly state on their website that their prototype is meant to be a last resort device when professional equipment is missing, and that their prototype is not to be immediately used for medical purposes). Their goal is to develop an open source design that can withstand clinical trials and be used in the future if access to professional equipment is lacking. To do this, they need feedback from medical professionals and engineers so they can iterate their prototype.

This is where the vast experience of CD mentors comes in! They are looking for feedback from professionals with experience in the medical field or designing reliable 3D printed parts about their prototype - potential shortcomings, process improvements, considerations, etc. If any mentor with experience has some time to look through the documentation for their first prototype and provide feedback that can help their future prototypes, feel free to respond to them through their website or their Gitlab project.

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I work with one of the authors of this paper:

https://asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/medicaldevices/article/4/2/027514/434122/Design-and-Prototyping-of-a-Low-Cost-Portable

I can get you in touch with her if you’d like.

An interesting development in this regard has come out of the UK. An engineering team from Oxford and King’s College have developed a prototype respirator that uses the standard respirator bag (a squeeze bag) as it’s core component, encloses it in a plexi box, compresses it using the standard compressed air supply that all hospitals have running through their walls, all run by a controller using an Arduino. It’s engineering well within the capabilities of many teams, who work with all the fabricated components of this system already. It might be possible for teams to actually produce these once the Oxford/King’s College team releases their design in full. Here’s an article on the news release about the design.


While this won’t be something that can replace actual ventilators in most situations, it may be that they will be needed for the emergency that’s building now. I doubt that any hospital is going to turn down working ventilation equipment, no matter the source, if it saves lives. We’re not there yet, but we may be, and it may be something that teams can help with when the time comes.