In Italy there is a shortage of a particular valve for ventilators. Massimo Temporelli, Cristian Fracassi, Alessandro Ramaioli, et al decided to do something about it. The valves cost $11,000 each and were unavailable. It is literally a matter of life and death (and I don’t mean that figuratively). These engineers 3D printed copies for about $1 a piece (material cost only) in order to save lives. They risk a lawsuit for patent violation, as they openly duplicated a patented device. They had one interest – saving lives quickly. (Information from Daily Kos and confirmed in multiple other sources.) Below is a translation of Fracassi’s Facebook post. I want to let him tell his own story. I do not vouch for the translation accuracy.
“You know in movies when someone is about to fall into the ravine? Usually at that moment the protagonist comes along and throws him a rope, but this rope slides… and time runs. We don’t believe that at that moment there are many questions about whether the rope is in accordance with or that it belongs to others. At that moment you only think about saving those who are falling. Then once you’re safe, with panting and adrenaline dropping, you can reason.
Well, we found ourselves in that situation. There were people in danger of life, and we acted. Period.
Now, with a cold mind, let’s think.
Firstly, don’t call us, as some have, heroes. Sure, people were about to die, but we only did our duty. Refusing would not have been a cowardly act, but murderous. Far from us.
Don’t call us, like some have, geniuses. Genius is such Venturi, who identified the physical principle that we only applied, as any other engineer would have. There is no genius in the piece everyone is talking about, there is only application of a physical principle.
But now let us also silence words that are flying beyond our intentions, and beyond our control: we have no intention of profit on this situation, we are not going to use the designs or product beyond the strict need for us forced to act, we are not going to spread the drawing. But not only: in this time when public opinion is very sensitive, please do not throw yourself at anyone. If we acted quickly it’s only because with 3 d printers you can quickly try a small production which would be impossible on the industrial scale. Finally, let us also say that certain figures we see turning are not true: we do not want to go into detail, because the cost of a piece is not that of the weight of a plastic pile: professional time come into play , costs of materials, energy etc. I mean, the cost is something complex, but let us keep the secret, and don’t know the right what the left does.
We simply want this story to remain only one thing: the community, made of a hospital, a newspaper, a team of professionals, made a race against time and saved lives. That’s it.
The rest – rights, certifications, costs and controversy – should shut up in the face of the undeniable superiority of the sacrosanct right to life. If you don’t share don’t ask us, but to the people who – thank goodness – are still breathing.
Thank you all for the support anyway. You have written me so many, over 2000 I believe, I don’t know if I can read everything and thank everyone. Let’s focus on the real heroes, those who save lives, who work 16 hours of hospital shifts and are day and night next to the sick and praise them. A big thank you.” – C. Fracassi
I don’t normally just copy someone else’s words and post them here. I’m “supposed to” write about bicycling, but I can’t ride right now. I work in a hospital (though can’t work right now). I don’t really save lives. I just do my job (well, except for now…); just as you do; just as Mr Fracassi says he is doing. Some people just doing their job have a bigger influence on the world than others. I don’t want the work of Fracassi, Ramaioli, and Temporelli to go unnoticed.
P.S. Welcome to spring (or fall if you are south of the equator), which arrived at 2249 last night, my local time.