Published: 10th April 2020
This Hyderabad start-up is 3D printing face shields, hands-free door openers to stave off COVID's spread
A donation campaign initiated by 3D Usher, a start-up founded by Faizan Mehdi and Gopal Krishna in Hyderabad, helps manufacture and deliver medical equipment to doctors, guards and those who need it
The dire need for N95 masks, hand gloves, face shields and surgical gowns has the whole world worried, adding to the burden that COVID-19 has us carrying. So by his own admission, Faizan Mehdi, is doing his bit to help ease the burden by distributing the aforementioned necessities to all those waging a war on the frontlines — doctors and other health workers, including guards. This he is doing by 3D printing some of the gear, while the rest comes from his manufacturing partners. To enable this, he started a campaign on Ketto which is past the half-way mark of two and a half lakh already and intends to go all the way.
Gopal and Faizan handing over face shields to the Commissioner of GWMC | (Pic: Usher 3D)
For a good cause
Though Faizan was pursuing Computer Engineering, he was always interested in 3D printers and subjects related to it, like Mechanical Engineering to be exact. So after college, and a long stint with Byju's, he did not spend time on anything else other than 3D Usher, a start-up he initiated with his friend Gopal Krishna in 2017. 3D Usher is an online platform for manufacturing, anyone can get anything manufactured post-uploading files for the product. Upon uploading the design, the website gives an instant quotation, an order is placed and then, they get the product manufactured by 3D printing it themselves or through their partners in India and the US. So when the Coronavirus scare presented itself on the doorstep of India and asserted its presence, Faizan launched the campaign to donate the necessary equipment. "We did not want the hospitals and doctors to fall short of supplies. Also, the idea was not to make a profit, we just wanted to do something that helps us get through this soon," says the 27-year-old.
The surgical gowns are stuck in Coimbatore and they are trying to get it to Hyderabad tirelessly | (Pic: Usher 3D)
Making it happen
Initially, it was just friends and family, but soon, many people donated to help Faizan do more good. With the help of their six in-house 3D printers, they are able to manufacture 200 units of face shields per day and another 500 to 1,000 units from another partner in Hyderabad. Another interesting product that they are distributing is the hands-free door opener. "We saw this product online and found an open-source file for it. So we decided to manufacture and donate this as well because door handles and knobs are one of the most contamination-prone surfaces," explains Faizan. One of the first beneficiaries of their donation was the Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation (GWMC). It was Dr Shanta Thoutam, Vice President at T-Hub, (she helped 3D Usher get in touch with a venture accelerator in the US in the past) who connected them to the Commissioner in Warangal. And it was last week that both Faizan and Gopal acquired the necessary permissions to deliver 500 face shields to Pamela Satpathy, Commissioner of GWMC. For the next round, the commissioner sent a vehicle to collect the face shields for Warangal's medical fraternity. They have distributed the kits in hospitals in Hyderabad too, like Gandhi Hospital and to the guards near the checkpoint at Mozamjahi Market.
Faizan informs us that currently, they are developing a tool for injection molding, with the help of which, they will be able to mass manufacture face shields and do more good.
To know more, check out their campaign ketto.org/fundraiser/india-fights-covid-19-donate-self-protection-kits-hands-free-door-opener?payment=form