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Engineering Alum Develops Respirator and Establishes 3D Printing Network in Response to COVID-19

May 19, 2021

Engineering Alum Develops Respirator and Establishes 3D Printing Network in Response to COVID-19

Jordan Vanderham is the President of Vandergen/Orindi, a company that produces injection-molded respirators to help people breathe more easily in the cold. A 2018 graduate of the GVSU Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering program, Jordan founded the company with the goal of helping people who have cold-induced asthma and quickly discovered that there was a pressing need among businesses with employees who conduct work in deep freezers.

When COVID-19 hit the United States, the need for masks and respirators skyrocketed. Organizations and individuals across the country searched for ways to respond to the personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical device shortage. In exploring options for mask production, a medical device manufacturer contacted Jordan to inquire about Orindi respirators and they began collaborating on the design of a reusable respirator.  During this process, Jordan reached out to Dr. John Farris in the GVSU School of Engineering for assistance with rapid 3D printing of prototypes and connections to local hospitals.

Already, the respirators have been delivered to hospitals in Michigan and Massachusetts. Although future demand for the respirators is currently unclear, the medical device manufacturer and Orindi are preparing to produce up to 2,000 per day. The respirators will provide a much-needed bridge in the demand for PPE and allow employees to safely return to work.

Throughout this process, Jordan has been encouraged by the hospitality of the Grand Rapids, Michigan community in response to the coronavirus. “Tooling companies have been dropping what they’re doing to help produce the respirators and providing discounts that make them more affordable for hospitals,” he said.

That’s not the only way that Jordan has stepped up to respond to the coronavirus, however. When the country first began to shut down, he started 3D printing face shields for medical professionals and reaching out to local hospitals, nursing homes, and restaurants to see if they were in need of PPE. At first, many rejected his offers but as time wore on the demand for PPE exceeded the supply and organizations began to reach back out to him for assistance.

Jordan worked with colleagues in West Michigan to establish, a community-organizing effort to develop PPE using 3D printers. The founding members of 3DC19 included Charles Elwood, Winston Hofer, Christopher Kaminski, Dugan Karnazes, Jeff Robinson, and Stephen Wierenga. Dugan and Stephen are also graduates of Grand Valley State University.

This original group of collaborators quickly grew to a nationwide effort involving more than 445 individuals across the United States who are donating their personal 3D printers to the creation of face shields, ear savers, ventilator parts, as well as hand-sewing masks. The individuals create the PPE, drop it off at one of two drop-off sites, and the PPE is then delivered to Hybrid Machining in Holland, MI for sterilization and repackaging for delivery to organizations in need. As of May 19, 2020, 3DC19 has printed 57,343 pieces of PPE and created 19,900 pieces of injection molded PPE which have been donated to 382 agencies in the United States.

Organizations in need of PPE and individuals interested in assisting with these efforts can visit the 3DC19 website to request PPE, donate funds, donate a 3D printer or Cricuts-laser cutter, or sign up to sew masks or make pickups and deliveries. The efforts have been featured by FOX17 News and the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce.

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Page last modified May 19, 2021