Seventeen & Saving Lives: Sam Suchin Combats COVID-19 with 3D Printings

by | Apr 10, 2020 | Changemaker Of The Week

Sam Suchin started Maryland-based Hope3D when he was a teenager as an online platform that asks the community of makers equipped with 3D printers to crowdsource parts for projects that solve medical, environmental, and socioeconomic issues worldwide. Since he was awarded his initial TPP grant in 2018, Hope3D has done projects ranging from submerging a massive artificial coral reef made from 400 unique 3D printed parts to producing tactile 3D printed devices for the visually impaired to providing 3D printed hair combs for homeless communities.

So when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, Suchin knew he had to do something. “In the past few weeks, people all over the world have started to brainstorm creative solutions to keep people safe during the outbreak,” says Suchin. “Hope3D has joined the movement.”

Enter Project Shield: a project which aims to crowdsource 3D printed face shields for healthcare workers. Suchin explains: “For this initiative, we are fabricating face shields made from crowdsourced 3D printed parts that are being distributed to healthcare workers in our local area. When the face shield is used in conjunction with a lower-grade surgical mask, we can provide CDC-recommended level of protection for people working with suspected COVID-19 carriers.”But Suchin isn’t stopping there. Another project he and his team have initiated is Project Breath, where they fabricate 3D printed parts that convert a scuba diving mask into an emergency ventilator mask for hospitals to use.

Suchin attributes his success in part to the grant TPP awarded him as part of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. “I was in the planning phase of implementing a project to fight COVID-19 on Hope3D, but there was a huge barrier due to the cost. As luck would have it, TPP sent out an email explaining the situation regarding changing the Impact Grant to address COVID-19. This was the perfect opportunity for Hope3D to effectively execute Project Shield and Project Breath. Hope3D is very thankful for TPP being so adaptive during these unprecedented times and is excited to implement these projects.”

Suchin encourages anyone with a 3D Printer to join the efforts in crowdsourcing parts for the various projects on the platform. “Nowadays, 3D printers are becoming very accessible and, with some fine-tuning and care, can be purchased for as low as $200. For projects relating specifically to COVID-19 (Project Shield and Project Breath), we ask volunteers to contact us if they can fabricate a large supply of devices. Hope3D will work with them to get their parts to a location in need during these troubled times.”
So far, Hope3D has been able to deliver face shields to Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland Medical Center, a Health Center in Puerto Rico, an ICU in North Carolina, and a hospital in Virginia. In addition, they are working with the Puerto Rican government and health center to produce emergency respirators and face shields.

“We cannot wait to send out hundreds of parts for Project Shield and Project Breath [out into the world],” says Suchin.

Suchin’s pioneering work is an example of the creativity of individuals and the value of community-led solutions. TPP is so happy to have supported him on these life-saving projects.
Hope3D would like to thank TPP as well as Potomac Photonics, who is creating the special laser cut plastic parts for Project Shield to function.

Checking out Hope3D’s other projects at: www.hope3d.org/projects

Written by Carolyn Ashworth