There has been a “significant groundswell of support” from the 3D printing community to help address shortages of medical supplies including swabs, face shields and surgical masks, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday. 

Matthew Di Prima with the FDA Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories said the FDA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Veterans Administration have been working together to capitalize on the support from 3D printing companies to address Covid-related shortages.

Since March, Di Prima said they have been trying to “create a way for legally marketed products to be presented to the community and then to ultimately connect manufacturers with those clinical needs.”  

NIH has “received almost 460 designs – of which 18 have passed a clinical assessment and 14 other designs have been found appropriate for community use,” Di Prima said.  

The NIH 3D Print Exchange website provides downloads for approved items such as face shields and parts as well as surgical face masks and straps. The items approved for community use include various types of masks and a hands-free door handle.