print4health - elevator pitch

Crowdproducing using 3D printing. A platform that connects people from the healthcare sector with 3D printers and determines the necessary need for medical devices and helpers in everyday life.

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We are in a time of crisis. The corona virus continues to spread and has serious consequences for the health system and the civilian population. Our main focus is on providing a platform for the application of 3D printing in medical technology and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We also want to improve infection protection by providing third-party and self-protection products for use in civil environments such as households and social facilities such as nursing homes and daycare centers.

In times of crisis, there is a great need for spare parts in the health sector. Depending on the region, this need can no longer be met. This indirectly leads to lost working hours in the hospital and higher infection rates. Often it is a question of required spare parts that could be produced quickly, safely and easily using a 3D printer. 3D printing offers the ability to manufacture parts even when supply chains are broken. However, there is a lack of a coordinating and quality-assuring platform that brings together demand and supply for 3D printing capacities. The platform provided is intended to ensure the effective collaboration of doctors, hospitals and aid organizations with companies and private individuals who have resources and experience in the field of 3D printing. However, the need for 3D-printed components is not just limited to medical devices, it is also about tools for everyday life: With a door handle extension, rooms can be entered without transmitting germs on the palms of the hands, adapters for taps allow operation with the elbow and simple frame for textiles can serve as a mouthguard. With these aids, the risk of infection for the general population can be reduced by reducing both smear and droplet infections. In addition to conveying production capacities, the platform also exchanges ideas. This way, institutions can learn from other experiences how they can use simple 3D printed objects and therefor can prevent the spread of viruses. This is intended to achieve the most efficient distribution of 3d printed products.

The platform also offers the possibility to design objects that are needed by the healthsector. These items can then be tested, evaluated and iteratively optimized in the community until they are used on a bigger scale. An efficient solution for community-wide product design is currently in the alpha-Stage.

What it does

The platform has several goals:

Solidarity crowdproducing

Mediation of the need for spare parts and people who can manufacture them using 3D printing processes. Hospitals can request 3D objects / spare parts that are voluntarily manufactured by people using 3D printers. Communication platform for different experts 3d-printing, engineering and Health.

_ Platform useful for medical facilities, but also for the entire population! _ In the current crisis, there is a need for 3D-printed medical components in medical practices, aid organizations, hospitals, but of course also in the general population. In order to close bottlenecks - and thus save lives!

Local resolution

Requirements and production as close as possible to each other by displaying the requiring and producing location on the website. We also have added “Hubs” these Hubs are local and are organizing their local area. This may include gathering Materials for 3d Printing or keeping stock of already 3d printed materials.


Provision of files for direct production on a 3D printer. We carefully tested all designs and have made a preselection to give healthcare professionals an easy way of finding there fitting product.

Quality assurance

Assessment and selection of the printable designs provided by expert staff as well as feedback from users. In a future addition we will add a tier system that allows users to only print products that they can effectively and cleanly 3D print. An example would be a Valve used for Ventilator this valve is only effective if printed on a special kind of 3D printer, if a user has these kinds of 3d printers they would receive an tier that represents their possibility of printing at a higher quality.


Links to other stakeholders, forums, companies, supporters, experts, similar sites ...

How I built it

PHP / Symfony / MySQL as backend with a REST API and a React frontend

Challenges I ran into

  • How do we best reach the target groups? 3D printers are usually part of a community that is relatively easy to reach online, for example via Reddit, Instagram or Twitter. Health care facilities are, however, more accessible through "classic" ways or "top-down" (from the management) to generate real demand too. This would be disseminated via social media and email, for example via the Federal Medical Association, the German Hospital Society, the Federal Joint Committee and the health insurance company.

  • Collect, filter & reduce the requirements and ideas to get the most efficient MVP possible.

  • The challenge of leveraging the project with strangers with different prior knowledge and interests

  • Complexity of production (material, geometry, mechanical stress)

  • Requirements for medical technology products

  • Patent rights

  • Bottleneck products that are needed quickly are usually not standard products! Efficient design, construction and production in collaboration with experts, printers and doctors must be guaranteed.

  • Linking existing offers

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

  • Development of a prototype platform in just one weekend - based on an idea without further preparation.
  • Bringing together experts from different areas
  • Compilation of many relevant links, stl files, information, companies, communities
  • Enthusiasm, team spirit and division of labor among the channel members!

A strong sense of solidarity and responsibility towards society.

What I learned

Separation of know-how into different workspace channels! In addition to communication, manufacturing had emerged as another focus in this channel. This was evident from the large number of experts in 3D printing and the depth of the discussion. However, the production of medical products, such as respiratory masks, requires high demands on materials, know-how and experience. Through discussion and the existence of another channel with a focus on the production of masks, the group partially separated. As a result, the communication platform described and the provision of easy-to-print components, such as an extended door handle and mask frame, became the sole focus.

There is already a lot of individual information and merging is in progress! There are already many free files for 3D printing, applications in medical technology and forums in which manufacturers and users of 3D printed products exchange information. However, there is no common platform that provides directly printable, anti-infection everyday tools for the population, the exchange of information and a contact point for hospitals in technical bottleneck situations. With the platform presented here, this gap is closed in a sustainable, solidary and comprehensive manner.

What's next and is currently in the works for Print4Health

  • Generate reach: We have to inform healthcare facilities and people with 3D printers about the platform. Healthcare facilities are the biggest challenge. We also need active support here.
  • Registration of users with 3D printer on the platform (specification of the printer, specification)
  • Assessment of models and reward system: ** Rating of manufactured parts “this maker did a great job” (or something). ** Tier system: depending on the print quality that someone can provide.
  • Verification of a hospital for autonomous registration
  • Companies with needs (including e.g. bakers)
  • Classification into urgencies / usage classes?
  • Chat between makers and doctors
  • Logistics, organization of transport routes (taxis, federal authorities) - How does the product get to the hospital or to the doctor?
  • Write to aid organizations and offer help (ASB, Johanniter, DRK)
  • Linking existing offers
  • Avoid typical problems for executing users:
  • Bottlenecks of printer material
  • Printer settings
  • Dealing with new (and not yet existing on the platform) and complex component geometries:
  • Are there plans from companies that are made available (problem DIN regulations and approvals)?
  • Does the component first have to be measured and constructed? What needs to be considered when it comes to materials and manufacturing?
  • How does the component get to where it is needed as quickly as possible? Currently we have a Hub solution which gives us possibilities to coordinate it locally.
  • In addition to the common communication platform, a team of technicians, doctors, logisticians and engineers should also be possible. For this purpose, in addition to the common communication platform, the creation of a team of technicians, doctors, logisticians and engineers should also be made possible.
  • But most Importantly! Generate reach: We have to inform and link healthcare facilities and people with 3D printers via the platform. Healthcare facilities pose the greatest challenge because they have so far only had a few digital communication channels. It offers itself among other things to use the existing e-mail distribution list of the medical association. When generating the reach, we also need active support via political channels to make the offer known.
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