Canadian Plastics

3D-printed hands-free door opener combats spread of COVID-19

Developed by Materialise NV, the door opener is being offered as a free printable download in hopes that it catches on worldwide. 

April 3, 2020   Canadian Plastics

Photo Credit: Materialise NV

Materialise NV, a 3D printing technology supplier headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, has designed a 3D-printed door opener that makes it possible to open and close doors with your arm instead of your hand, lessening the direct contact that’s responsible for spreading coronavirus.

The company is offering the printable design as a free download in hopes that it catches on worldwide.

Experts believe that COVID-19 can live on surfaces for an extended time – as long as three days on some surfaces – and the virus has been found on doorknobs, which are touched frequently.

The hands-free door opener is installed by fastening two 3D-printed pieces together with four screws over an existing door handle. No drilling is required, and the handle itself doesn’t have to be changed. The first model can be attached to cylindrical handles – but not doorknobs – but Materialise plans to introduce additional designs using different 3D printing technologies as needed in response to the spread of COVID-19.

The idea for the 3D-printed door handle originated at an internal company meeting to establish measures to protect Materialise employees and visitors. “It soon became clear that more people could benefit from this design and [we] decided to make it available for free,” officials said. “Anyone with access to a 3D printer can download the design and 3D-print it locally in a matter of hours. Through this technology, the 3D-printed door opener could become available all over the world very quickly.”

The 3D-printed door handles themselves can also become contaminated, which is why Materialise recommends disinfecting them regularly.


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