The Open Source Ventilator Project

Smart home means different things to different people, what it boils down to is the ability to improve our lives through technology. Yesterday, my wife had the chance to chat with Kate Reddy from LAB 714 about a very timely and potentially life saving application of 3D printing technology.

Last week, you may have seen a few articles covering an open source hardware project aimed at rapidly producing ventilators from easily sourced materials, 3D printed components, and plans available freely on the Internet. Given that the Associated Press reports that as many as 960,000 Covid-19 patients in the US could require some period of time on a respirator, and that our country only has approximately 200,000 available, the math’s not great.

While automobile makers Ford, GM, and Tesla have committed to manufacturing ventilators if the need arises, we all know that giant companies never do ANYTHING quickly. Small companies and individuals, by contrast, are far more nimble, which is one part of the appeal of the Open Source Ventilator Project (you can  find design files at their GitLab HERE).

The Open Source Ventilator Project is headed up by Colin Keogh of Ireland and Gui Calavanti of the US. They teamed up to crowd source the design for ventilators, face masks, as well as other vital medical supplies and equipment. Engineers, doctors, and scientists have teamed up with every day people to create plans and designs to build vital gear locally – and quickly.

Already, their prototype ventilator is under evaluation by the Irish Health Services Executive, which is Ireland’s health regulatory body, to validate the design for use in Irish hospitals. If the worst should happen with Covid-19, other countries would do well to give their own regulatory bodies a kick to expedite review of this and similar projects.

Kate and her husband, Rakesh, are slaving away at their 3D printers.

Basically in the lab, we are 3-D printing filtration masks and starting to print parts for a DIY respirator. We have found that we’re having issues sealing the masks as well as getting the filters for the masks. Luckily, I think that we have a solution for the filter, but we still have only printed two masks and we have yet to have a final product that would be hospital grade.

We’re actually having more luck working with people in China to get N95 masks shipped to the United States for healthcare workers.

We’re awaiting parts for the ventilator, it’s a complex system which requires pressure sensors, valves, a circuit board, a CPR respirator for the for the lung component, etc. we’re hoping that the parts will all come this week and that we can hopefully prove a concept.”

During his day off from work, Tech. Sgt. Ronald Stokes assists medical technician Senior Airman Brynn Delano in the care of a patient as a volunteer in the Air Force Theatre Hospital at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Sergeant Stokes is an F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief deployed from the 138th Fighter Wing in Tulsa, Okla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Scott Wagers)

Yesterday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams stated “I want America to understand this week it’s going to get bad.” (source)

If you’re an engineer, a designer, or just an ace with a 3D printer, this may be your chance to step up and save the world! is the website for our Facebook community, The Smarter Home Club – which is an umbrella for all kinds of smart home technologies – home automation, security, custom electronics, weather stations, alternative energy, you name it. DIY focused.

If you’re interested in joining the Smarter Home Club’s Facebook group, please follow this link:

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