Arm Door Opener - COVID-19

The opener, 3D-designed at CIM UPC, can be manufactured with any desktop 3D printer and simply assembled with 3 cable ties. With this opener, all shared door handles can be opened without using your hands.


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Since the first case of COVID-19 in Europe was detected on January 24, concern about the exponential transmission of the virus has been on everyone's mind. In the field of engineering, there are different working groups with whom CIM-UPC is actively working on the design, validation, manufacture and distribution of respirators, masks or protective visors.

But it is also very important to prevent new infections. And this is where it appears the inherent risk of opening and closing doors of common areas of buildings, hospitals, work centers or shop with the hands. According to a recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, SARS-CoV-2 is capable of maintaining its infectious properties for hours, and even days, on certain materials such as steel.

The engineers at CIM UPC began to analyse the different alternatives available on the market to open the doors without using the hands and realized that none were easy enough to assemble, nor did they adapt to the different types of handles and that, in general, they required special elements being difficult to procure. So they got down to work.

The final outcome, after a hard week working with different designs and prototypes, is the Arm Door Opener. It consists of a single piece that can be manufactured in less than 4 hours with any desktop 3D printer and can easily be assembled with only 3 cable ties.

This design has been made in two versions for doors that open to the left and to the right and the assembly is carried out in less than a minute with the help of only 3 cable ties and without the need for any training or technical expertise.

This digital design, materialised by any 3D printer, can be replicated worldwide, which can help minimise the risk of COVID-19 contagion. At the moment, the first large batch will be manufactured at the assembly centre of BCN3D for desktop 3D printers, spin-off of CIM-UPC, on the UPC campus in Castelldefels (Barcelona). Currently, BCN3D is a leading company in its sector that has made available to the fight against COVID all their 3D printers dedicated to producing its components. There are more than 60 3dprinters.

The production of these openers is also foreseen in the Barcelona Local Manufacturing Athenaeums (public Fablabs of the Barcelona City Council) and in other centres, such as the MakerSpace in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda. All them have participated in the co-design of the opener, so that the more the merrier in order to distribute them.

All the digital information for anyone to reproduce the Arm Door Opener can be downloaded for free from CIM-UPC website, as well as from the main 3D file repositories that are available on the net. If globalization has spread the virus, it will also be able to facilitate its defeat thanks to network innovation and universal access to CAD tools and additive manufacturing. This is a collective success in a situation of confinement, as long as most of the participants in the project are working at home and use their own 3D printer.

With this contribution, CIM-UPC, the UPC technology centre, gives its answer to a need that, due to current health crises, had remained at a second level of priority, but which is equally important. And CIM-UPC team continues working, without a break, in search of other solutions that could help in the fight against this virus.

Materials and methods

Print in any material with an infill of 30% or more. Use three cable ties to assembly.



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Ca99868ad90ae85387b50d81eb8018ca?default=blank&size=40bhorton63 commented ago

This is a good design for doors with horizontal handles ... but what about vertical handles? How would you attach to the handle without it sliding down? (Obviously a vertical attachment plate would need to be printed on the opposite side, but that doesn't solve the slide issue)

I'm thinking specifically about grocery store fridges/freezers. Which means aesthetics would be important as well ... so zip ties aren't the best option (although they do solve the problem nicely!).

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Mini logo cim pngCIM UPC commented ago

If you can, is better to print it in PETG.

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Mini logo cim pngCIM UPC commented ago

Here you have!

F5ab50f3ec7ad35b316782d1f393de8d?default=blank&size=40enginum commented ago

Design looks simple and robust. However, it is readied for filament printers with infill setup. We'd like to print it in our SLA device for hospitals nearby (Igualada), but SLA prints full solid only (so the STL is an overkill, too robust and too thick). In order to speed up the printing and optimize the resin, is there any version for SLA? Would it be possible, otherwise, to provide the design in IGS or PRT for us to adjust it?

A quick response will be highly appreciated!

Thank you in advance

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Mini 45dcd44670991.59f208619f6f1Pepo Aliaga printed this ago
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Printed on:
Easy to print, 4h-5h for a strong result. Without supports, infill 30-40%
Nice work team!
Mini logo cim pngCIM UPC published this design ago