February 3, 2023


Technology can't be beat

Ukrainian Volunteers Use 3D Printers to Save Lives


A person thirty day period into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a team of much more than 100 makers from all about Ukraine made and supplied a number of 3D-printed solutions to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Territorial Protection Force, and the Air Forces. For stability reasons, this group does not disclose most of their do the job. But they do share widespread achievements.

According to their facts, 3,019 personal components have been 3D printed in the 1st 16 days of the war, which have been employed for 930 finished goods. This is info from only just one team of volunteers, and it is quite tough to keep track of the whole quantity of support in the type of 3D-printed products and solutions. However, it is risk-free to say that speedy, adaptable 3D-printing generation has revealed all its advantages in Ukraine.

This is a startling accomplishment taking into consideration that before 24 February 2022, 3D printing was extremely seldom made use of in producing components for military services devices in Ukraine.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Initially, the 3D-printing services and expert services available in Ukraine typically use fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D-printing engineering, which usually results in parts with lousy functionality and much less than optimal survivability in wartime. Second, the amount of 3D printers was pretty constrained in Ukraine and did not allow for for the production of specific parts evenly in the course of the country. And for volunteers residing in Ukraine and for people like me who are exterior of our property country, there had been a lot of issues and thoughts: what specifically to print, in what amount, how to supply logistics in the spots exactly where the goods are essential, and how to get the permits needed to modernize army products.

Given these constraints, how has 3D printing become just one of the most critical routines for volunteers seeking to aid the Ukrainian armed service? It turns out the COVID-19 epidemic performed an significant part in resolving quite a few of the troubles related with 3D printing just before the war. All through COVID-19, companies, volunteers, universities, and concerned citizens (together with me) commenced to develop a process for networking. Thanks to these communication programs and volunteer facilities, it was attainable to offer private protective tools (like face shields) for doctors and social workers. By the commencing of the whole-scale war in February, logistics devices for the 3D-printing field had now been set up.

Even so, at the commence of the conflict, 3D printers were being in small source, and there was a confined source of consumables like filament. When volunteers from overseas joined the combat, they dispatched a huge number of 3D printers during Ukraine in a small time. In addition, citizens who had 3D printers at dwelling started to give their printers to 3D-printing hubs established to supply factors to the frontlines. Ukrainian filament providers also began to make materials straight available, proficiently resolving any remarkable thoughts about components and printers.

But the main issue for the 3D-printing local community remained: What could be 3D printed that would most help the armed forces? The Ukrainian enterprise 3D Tech ADDtive was the very first to appear up with an initiative to protect Ukraine. The corporation was one of the initial to work on 3D printing of factors for drones and weapons, but the influence of these factors was confined. Hence, when it acquired new data that there was a fantastic lack of combat software tourniquets (CATs) for the armed service, in just a few times they experienced created a tourniquet design and style that could be 3D printed, and started to modify it for greater effectiveness.

Left photo shows a tourniquet applied to an art. On the right are 3D printed parts.
The Ukrainian firm 3D Tech ADDtive developed a overcome application tourniquet [left] that contains many 3D-printed areas [right].3D Tech ADDtive

Other volunteers also joined the modernization and implementation of laptop or computer-aided patterns with publicly available 3D types for printing. In individual, the job “3DPrintingforUkraine” improved effectiveness for even industrial tourniquets.

Comparison photos of tourniquets on arms and technology checking blood flow.
The 3DPrintingforUkraine project also designed tourniquets whose components could be easily manufactured and assembled via a 3D printer. 3DPrintingforUkraine

Printing these types of tourniquets can be tricky, as nonstandard filaments, such as versatile products these types of as nylon and some others these kinds of as polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG), are required. Meanwhile, the logistics of offering high-priced printing components are now additional challenging to resolve than for more typical 3D-print composites this sort of as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (Ab muscles) or PETG.

Currently, having said that, the 3D printing of this important materiel carries on, many thanks to the help of volunteers and the typical donation of caring people, mainly from Eastern Europe.

Stacks of colorful spools of 3d printing filament in the back of a car.
Spools of 3D-printer filament fill the back seat of a vehicle, furnishing a provide-chain lifeline for 3D printers throughout Ukraine being utilized to provide troops and medics functioning in the country’s protection. 3D Tech ADDtive

As the war ongoing on, a further scarcity arose with the Israeli Unexpected emergency Bandage—a smartly made dressing designed particularly for use with a single hand. Due to the substantial selection of mobilized Ukrainians, there was just not plenty of of these bandages to go around. As a result, with each other with garment corporations, makers have structured the production of a 3D-printed version of the bandages. In simple fact, just after only a several days of making these substitute Israeli Unexpected emergency Bandages, volunteers utilised them to full person very first-aid kits, which have been then despatched to the entrance.

A product photo of a green bandage compared to a bright yellow printed bandage holder.
The Israeli Unexpected emergency Bandage [left], a well known staple of army initial-support kits all over the globe, was so considerably in demand from customers among Ukrainian forces that a comparable 3D-printed bandage [right] was devised as an different.3D Tech ADDtive

In addition to well being-treatment merchandise, the 3D-printing neighborhood in Ukraine has been generating tactical tools for the army. The most practical for the navy are periscopes, which volunteers disguise as needed. This style and design of the 3D-printed periscope is rather light-weight and is composed of a 50-millimeter-diameter tube, two mirrors, and two printed sections. This provides Ukrainian troopers encountering the enemy in city locations a safer way to appear close to corners and around partitions.

A periscope and case next to two photos showing printed versions, the top of which has camouflage material on it.
Both equally the army periscope [left] and its 3D-printed alternate variations [right] can be critical resources for troops on the frontlines—especially in restricted urban configurations, enabling sometimes lifesaving means of hunting close to corners and in excess of partitions.3D Tech ADDtive

A few-D printing exhibits wonderful adaptability and can answer rapidly to the requires of volunteers. The conversation that was founded in peacetime, as a result of conferences and scientific and specialized societies which includes IEEE, will allow for greater comprehending of the requires and possibilities of each individual location and hub. Many thanks to this volunteer-driven, maker-powered movement, the Ukrainian Army has a greater chance to provide a deserving resistance to the Russian Army by generating it attainable to equip navy models with needed devices immediately.

About the Writer

IEEE member Roman Mykhailyshyn was born in Ukraine and lived in the city of Ternopil in western Ukraine most of his everyday living, becoming an associate professor in the section of automation and technological processes and production at Ternopil Countrywide Specialized University in 2019. He is currently a Fulbright going to scholar at the section of robotics engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Massachusetts, doing the job on a challenge about the manipulation of adaptable objects by industrial robots.

“Being in an additional nation when you have a war at household is very motivating,” states Mykhailyshyn. “After the news of the commencing of a entire-scale Russian offensive towards Ukraine, I felt despair and panic, but later it grew into anger at all issues Russian. I’m guaranteed a ton of folks feel that way. For me, the volunteer routines and frequent communication amongst Fullbrighters from Ukraine have joined us alongside one another and aided us to morally appear to phrases with what we can and can not do.”

“Constant interaction with spouse and children, colleagues, and buddies who are in Ukraine is exceptionally useful, despite the fact that these kinds of communications can be really challenging,” he claims. “Personal connections are one of my main sources of information about what is going on in Ukraine. Since some of the volunteer organizations’ organizers examined or lived part of their life in my city, I know them perfectly.”

Mykhailyshyn notes that he built a major portion of his connections at scientific and complex conferences, including UKRCON, which is held every single two years. “Such functions permit attendees to locate like-minded men and women and establish the vital interaction,” he suggests. “Many of these individuals I converse with, and they speak about their volunteer contribution to the victory of Ukraine. The relaxation of the information and facts I acquire through the social networks of official companies and volunteers.”


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