How makers are using Clusters to 3D print PPEs worldwide

We asked some groups in our community how they are using AstroPrint Clusters to coordinate efforts to print PPEs for hospitals and other groups in need. Here is what they had to say:

Printing PPEs in Cincinnati

Patrick Bennett and Richard Eichhorn are coordinating efforts in the Cincinnati Metro Area including Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. They signed up in the AstroPrint Clusters app to become regional coordinators for the Cincinnati area.

We talked to Patrick to find out more:

How many people have joined your cluster and how many parts have been printed?

“We currently have 14 users in our cluster and have printed just over 200 prints which have been distributed to hospitals and local municipal Fire Departments, as well as individuals who need them for their essential businesses/organizations.”

Face shields being assembled at Southern HIghland Joint Fire District before being sanitazed.

How did you find people to join your cluster?

“We have found users via Social Media, directly from the Clusters app, as well from COVID-19 Relief Forums. The app did help, as it puts the cluster on a map and allows other makers to find us and join in on the efforts.”

How do you manage the pickup/delivery of the parts?

“We are using the app for logistics of the pickup/delivery as we see fit. By using the Cluster App Platform and the COVID-19 Relief Forums, we are hoping to reach out to the users who are further away to help them mutually meet for pickup when they have parts ready.”

We have been cranking parts out on Creality Ender 3’s, and we are working on expanding our homes with more 3D Printers. So the next challenge we will face, with the expanded printing capabilities and functionality of the AstroPrint Clusters App, will be to mobilize and serve more of our communities.”

Printing PPEs in the Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation currently has the third-highest infection rate in the country outside of the epicenters of New York and New Jersey. In this area, 40% of families live below the Federal poverty rate and hospitals do not have easy access to personal protective equipment. 

We talked to Brian Skeet, Co-founder of the Indige Design Collab in Phoenix, who created a cluster to help healthcare workers fighting Covid19 in the area. Please consider donating to this cause, here:

Indige Design Collab (L-R): Eunique Yazzie (Diné) Founder and Strategist, Shon Quannie (Acoma Pueblo, Hopi, Mexican) Creative Partner, Dustin Lopez (Diné, Yaqui, Laguna Pueblo) community liaison and Brian Skeet (Diné) Research + Design.

How did you find people to join your cluster?

“We have been able to coordinate with local makers in the Phoenix area who produced face shields. The IndigeDesign Collab has been a hub for gathering information on how to get supplies to rural communities on Navajo.

Currently, we are using the Clusters app to tap into the 3d Printing community in the Phoenix area.  However, Arizona State University has the largest breadth of printers.  But that isn’t stopping us from reaching out beyond ASU.  Just with the clusters app we have been able to get two printers in California on board to help our efforts.  Before the app we organized through Facebook and Instagram and had really great success. We are working with Navajo Technical University out of Crown Point, NM, a school teacher in Thoreau NM and a small business owner out of Santa Fe NM.  Locally we have a few ASU faculty members and students from the industrial design program helping as well. “

How many parts have been printed so far are how do you manage the pickup/delivery of those parts?

“So far we have helped deliver 400+ face shields and 300+ face masks from the Phoenix community.  In addition, the IndigeDesign Collab has created an initiative to produce 1000 face shields for rural Navajo Communities.  We have printed 800+ headbands and we project to have 1000 by this week  We credit the Cluster App with being able to discover other users and make the need visible.  

All the face shields once printed, are assembled, packaged in plastic, and boxed. Members of the Indige Design Collab have mobilized independent weekly delivery routes to safely deliver the personal protection equipment while adhering to any additional restrictions like curfews or checkpoints.”

About AstroPrint Clusters

AstroPrint created the Clusters app specifically for groups of 3D Printer owners to help coordinate logistics around printing PPEs during the Covid 19 crisis. The majority of the AstroPrint team are based in Spain and were already printing PPEs for their local communities when they saw how difficult it was to expand production, due to logistics issues around coordinating a large number of makers. At the time of this post there are over 60 clusters using the platform to print PPEs. These clusters are spread all over the globe.

The Clusters application is free to use. To learn more: