Model No. and COVID-19

Model No. and COVID-19

Posted by Jeffrey McGrew on Apr 4th 2020

Like so many others before the coronavirus emergency, we at Model No. had our plates full of internal mission-critical projects for the first half of 2020. But as we witnessed the coronavirus outbreak spreading across the globe, we decided that the right thing to do was to set those projects aside to prioritize finding a way to help.

While sheltering in place in our various homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, we reached out to like-minded engineers on collaboration platforms like Helpful Engineering and our local hospitals to see where we could best be of immediate help. Based on those initial conversations, we realized that our expertise in digital fabrication put us in an ideal position to build custom protective equipment and other unavailable items for medical professionals and to do so in an expedited time frame.

What we are making: Working with local hospitals, and directly chatting with hospital staff on the front lines, we started making an Aerosol Box that they are in desperate need of. Leveraging a design from Doctor Hsien Yung Lai, the product we’re building is very similar but with design changes requested by the staff at our Bay Area hospitals and tweaks to greatly speed up production.

The units are made from clear polycarbonate and easy to disinfect. The box is placed between patient and medical personnel during the intubation process, which is a high-risk procedure for doctors because of the likelihood of being directly exposed to the virus. Up until the current emergency, hospital staff could use fully-ventilated protective suits; today those are in very short supply. Thus the need for this Aerosol Box.

You can read the latest on all the various aerosol shields development efforts here:

The Model No. Aerosol Box design is adapted to US-sized beds and people with feedback from testing at local hospitals. he box can be customized to fit specific hospital needs and is constructed from a single material, using a single automated tool.

This manufacturing process limits both the amount of time, and the number of hands, needed to build the Aerosol Box. Shipped flat, it can be assembled by anyone without the need for tools or adhesive. The box can be just as easily disassembled for cleaning and disinfecting before being used on the next patient. In addition, a disposable drape can be attached to provide a partial negative pressure environment.

Our team has been finalizing the design with local hospital teams this week, with the goal of producing up to 100/day. We have material on hand to make many of them, and are making them as we post this. These Aerosol Boxes will be shipped to hospitals of any size, for free, and we shipped our first ones this week for testing. Once testing is complete we're making as many boxes as we can, as fast as we can.

Not only are we building the boxes at our workshop, we are actively recruiting other production shops to help with this effort. Our design and CAD files are available for download online for free by clicking here and have been released under a open license. Soon a how-to guide for other workshops to follow. We will make another announcement when we have that guide available once final testing is complete.

Aerosol Boxes can be requested right now by sending an email with your hospital’s requirements to An online order form will soon be available on the Model No site to make the ordering process more seamless. Boxes for testing can ship now, and we'll get them out in the order requests were received.

On behalf of my fellow co-founders and the Model No. team, I am especially proud and encouraged by how the maker and design community is coming together to address the challenges created by COVID-19. We appreciate your continued support as we all continue to work towards a return to normalcy.