3D printing in the fight against COVID-19 in Ukraine

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Oleh Sydoruk

At  the start of the pandemic, my friends and I turned our modern technology learning platform into a 3D printing lab, which produces protective face-shields and ventilator details for hospitals fighting COVID-19 in Ukraine.

Not so long ago, and not even in a galaxy far, far away, the KVADRAT youth centre emerged in Vinnytsia, a city in West-Central Ukraine. Its purpose is to educate young people and promote their development. The centre became the home for a modern technology learning platform FabLab KVADRAT. That's us: my colleagues Oleksandr and Serhii and me, and we currently work at FabLab.

Although the three of us have different approaches and specializations, we all agree that it would be nice to have a barbecue with Elon Musk. Each member of our department is a bit of a dreamer. We joined the team, because we, like the youth of FabLab, are trying to make our dreams come true. While one of us has a childhood fascination with space and ideas about traveling to the stars, others want to build laser swords. 

However, life doesn't always turn out exactly how you plan it. It affects our activities. Now they can be divided into two parts: before and after the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic.

Before the pandemic, we used to work with people directly. Every month we held an Open Day, when we demonstrated how to work with various items of equipment, from soldering irons to 3D printers. We also regularly conducted classes on robotics and electronics, which both 12-year-old children and school teachers attended.

However, our 3D modeling classes were the most popular. We taught how to create figures of cats and vases, and even iron thrones like in the Game of Thrones. We also provided advice about startups, and helped others to find their way, to get one step closer to their dreams.

However, the pandemic and quarantine changed everything.

While doing everything we can to help doctors fighting with the virus on the front line, we didn't forget about our usual activities. During the quarantine, we adapted parts of our courses to conduct them online, and continued to advise startups.
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Oleh Sydoruk

We felt useless at first. We couldn't continue either working with the equipment or interacting with people in the usual way. Life moved online. We realized we had to do everything we could to restore our normal life rhythms for ourselves. 

We consulted with doctors and monitored what our colleagues around the world were doing. Eventually, at our own expense or thanks to volunteers and other concerned people, my colleague Oleksandr and I began to create COVID-19 protective face-shields on the 3D printers at home. Our families still wonder sometimes how quickly we turned our homes into laboratory branches.

We experimented with existing models or created new ones to provide health care workers in our city Vinnytsia with protective face-shields. When the doctors said that they had enough, we started sending our printed face-shields to other hospitals around the country. We wanted to report on the work we did. However, we stopped counting after we printed 1,000 face-shields and 50 details for ventilator masks.

The number of patients with COVID-19 is declining in Ukraine. We really want to believe that we had a role to play in this as well. This is not the end of the quarantine yet. We are continuing to provide health care workers with what we can and are ready to accept new orders. 

While doing everything we can to help doctors fighting with the virus on the front line, we didn't forget about our usual activities. During the quarantine, we adapted parts of our courses to conduct them online, and continued to advise startups.

Stay healthy and in a good mood! The quarantine will end someday; then keep moving to reach new heights and dreams with renewed energy!

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