Frequently Asked Questions [Document in Progress]

General

What is this project about?
We produce high-quality tourniquets for use by the Ukrainian civilian population, the Ukrainian Army, and Territorial Defense, so that more lives can be saved. This is essential in the current crisis, since reliable tourniquets are globally scarce. We make these devices using a reliable 3D printed tourniquet design that we developed. Furthermore, we integrate the entire process of manufacturing and distribution in Ukraine.

Who is behind this project?
We are a group of international volunteers who help Ukraine. We are volunteering activists, engineers, medical professionals, educators, professionals in the textile and manufacturing industry, and students. Please visit the Team page to learn more volunteers. The current version of our tourniquet is a result of numerous tests, development and feedback done by our team of international volunteers, members of the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the Ukrainian Catholic University & Gymnasium 172 “Nyvky”, and users of our tourniquets.

Where do you make the tourniquets?
The journey of each tourniquet starts in various countries across the globe where the parts are printed. The sewing happens primarily in several cities in Ukraine, and also in Switzerland and Poland.

Supporting the Project

How can I support this project financially? [fundraiser preparation in progress]
We accept donations. 100% of your donation goes to tourniquet production materials and sewing costs. Each 6 USD you donate, donates one tourniquet directly to hospitals, first responders, the Ukrainian Army, and Ukrainian Territorial Defense.

How can I support this project with 3D printing?
You can donate your 3D printing service. Please see the Print section of our project. You can also donate your printing material. Alternatively we can cover the cost of material, or reimburse you. We released this project for public printing after two months of intense R&D and successful field tests. Your printing will be very meaningful.

How can I support this project in other ways?
We are looking for industry contacts. Especially: velcro suppliers, filament producers, manufacturers of webbing. In the future, we will also consider injection molding technology. We are open to even more additional ideas and modes of support, to help us make a difference. Please contact Jakub Kaminski (LinkedIn, email).

Organization & Logistics

What does your manufacturing and supply chain look like?

  1. Parts are printed primarily in Europe and across the globe by volunteers who follow our 3D printing instructions
  2. These volunteers send parts to the collection points in their countries (also operated by our volunteers)
  3. Parts in the collection points are combined and sent to Poland
  4. Laser cut parts for tourniquet plates are produced in Poland
  5. Tourniquet textile materials are purchased in Poland and in Ukraine
  6. All the parts are delivered with humanitarian transport to cities in Ukraine such as: Lviv, Zaporizhzhia, Ternopil, Kiev and others, where our volunteers operate
  7. Our volunteers check the quality of 3D printed parts and report potential issues
  8. Our professional sewing heroes make tourniquets
  9. Tourniquets are tested by our volunteers
  10. Our volunteers deliver tourniquets to the medical personnel who needs them to save Ukrainian civilians and soldiers on the front lines

How do you ensure that the tourniquets are delivered to those who need them?
We use our own trusted logistics and reliable contacts in Ukraine. We receive a confirmation of delivery from every point of contact. We do not send tourniquets with regular postal service because such services are notorious for being lost and later sold on a gray market.

I want to print but I need material. Can you help?

Yes, please contact us to arrange filament shipping from Poland or other Countries in Europe. We can also offer some mechanism to reimburse you. More details to come.

Financial Topics

Do you sell tourniquets?
No, we do not sell our tourniquets. We donate them for free to hospitals, first responders, Ukrainian Soldiers, and Ukrainian Territorial Defense units using our trusted logistics.

Do you make money?
No, we do not make any money. We are volunteers. This project is built with our free work, this includes printing, testing, and transportation in Ukraine. This website, our communication materials and other work are also contributed for free.

Is there any person who receives salary or any form of compensation through this project?
Professional sewists (primarily in Ukraine) are the only individuals who receive salary for their sewing service. This is our contribution to support Ukraine’s economy and ensure that the critical production step is done by experienced people.

How can you operate in a sustainable way?
We rely on generous financial, material, and service donations provided by the international community. We also greatly appreciate numerous discounts received from the entities from whom we purchase essential production materials.

How do you spend the resources donated to you?
We purchase materials (webbing, velcro, 3D printing filament) that are needed for producing tourniquets. We pay for sewing service (around 2 USD per tourniquet). We also pay for shipping services to Poland, from where we deliver 3D printed parts to Ukraine.

How much does it cost you to produce a single tourniquet?
The production cost of 1 tourniquet is less than 6 USD. This means that each 6 USD that is donated enables us to make and donate our tourniquet to a military person who needs it.
High-level costs summary:

  • Genuine Velcro OmniTape: 1 USD
  • Military grade polyamide webbing: 1 USD
  • 3D printing filament: 1 USD (if not donated)
  • Sewing service: 2 USD
  • Shipping costs and potential price variations: 1 USD

This is a conservative calculation. We are very likely to further reduce the cost e.g. thanks to the current generous filament donations. In such a way, each donated 6 USD will give more donated tourniquets.

I have seen tourniquets from China that are available in the range of 6 USD – 10USD. Why do you do your project?
Products from the Far East are notorious for their bad quality and safety concerns. We do not want a tourniquet to break when applied because it will not save a life. Our differentiation is to ensure quality with testing and the use of military-grade polyamide webbing, premium Velcro OmniTape used in professional tourniquets, and the design optimized for strength when 3D printed.

You produce in Ukraine and the price is so low, how is it possible?
We are cost-effective in production because we gather people who donate their work for this cause. This starts with pro-bono R&D, through 3D printing services and supervision, up to deliveries to the front lines provided for us free of charge.

Technology

THIS TEXT IS NOT A MEDICAL ADVICE

Do people need professional tourniquets (or ones that closely imitate them)? Almost anything can be a tourniquet.
Professional tourniquets are needed to ensure that bleeding is reliably controlled, and a wounded person will not continue bleeding during the transport. Professional products offer the following features: Tourniquet is applied quickly, even by a personnel who operates under unfavorable war conditions. The pressure of a tourniquet can be further adjusted during transport. Tourniquet is able to reliably tighten even large legs. Additionally, the underlying tissues are not damaged by a tourniquet. Design like CAT gen7 allows to achieve all of that, and many other qualities. Moreover, professional products also allow the user to apply the tourniquet themselves, even with one hand, and enable them to follow a well-established protocol to ensure that the application is successful.

How do you know your tourniquets are good?
Our design is heavily inspired by CAT gen 7 which is the official tourniquet used by the US Army and several NATO countries. TCCC-certified combat medicine instructors state that our tourniquet is very similar to CAT and offers very close usability and safety features. We conducted several tests of our tourniquets done by emergency physicians. These tests showed successful suppression of blood flow and distal pulse monitored with Doppler medical ultrasound and a pulse oximeter. Additionally, with laboratory tests, we demonstrated the ability of our tourniquet to retain over 85% of the compression pressure after 90 minutes after the application. All of that led us to successful implementation of our tourniquet in the field. It is now serving Ukrainian first responders and soldiers.

Why don’t you buy high-quality TCCC-certified tourniquets like CAT gen7 or SOF-T? They are proven.
These tourniquets are not available in Ukraine and worldwide because of the enormous surge in the demand for these products. According to various estimates, the need for tourniquets in Ukraine alone might be as high as 0.5 – 1.0 million units, even considering just demand for military personnel in the field. Each soldier usually carries 3 tourniquets. Combat medicine products including tourniquets are now also urgently purchased by the Baltic countries. All of that drives the demand further, and it is unlikely to see widely-available TCCC-certified products anytime soon.

What is the actual difference between you and currently available tourniquets?
Our design is much more tough, stronger and closer to the original products, when compared to the low-cost counterfeits of NATO-style tourniquets imported from the Far East. This is because we do not compromise on the material quality and type or amount of plastic material that makes our pieces. You can safely put a 100kg load pressing the top surface of our clip. It will not be destroyed. Users have difficulties to bend our windlass, but they easily break windlasses of Chinese tourniquets.

Many 3D Printed tourniquets have a bad reputation. Why?
First of all: our 3D printed project is becoming public only after 2 months of development during this war. Only now we have the confidence to bring a reliable and safe tourniquet. We still advice against “home-made” approach unless professionals experienced with sewing are involved. We had no influence over the public opinion shaped by other projects/designs that were deployed prematurely and were not managed in a responsible way. Many such designs lack appropriate tests and user feedback, are printed with wrong materials, and do not offer documentation and quality assurance processes.

Are there any other 3D printed tourniquets worth making?
Yes: GLIA. We like the GLIA tourniquet design. It is a proven 3D printed tourniquet successfully deployed in GAZA starting in 2018. Please remember that the majory of work when making touriquets is to ensure that the production of a tourniquet is reliable and the used materials are correct. GLIA a very mature 3D printed tourniquet project, which is also inspired by CAT gen7. We had a pleasure to speak and learn from Mr. Tarek Loubani, MD about the important factors of the tourniquet design.

Our design is different than GLIA in the following ways:

  1. We use the design approach even closer to CAT gen7 (that soldiers are mostly familiar with)
  2. We do not use riveting, only sewing. This simplifies the manufacturing process.
  3. Printed parts placed more densely on the table: this means more productive printing without frequent supervision.
  4. Design optimizations to ensure extra strength
  5. Laser cut plate part to eliminate potential problems with the flexible printed parts
  6. Every part prints without supports, and prints well even with 0.8mm nozzle
  7. User-customized parts with a special pattern so that we can track the quality of every printed part
  8. Detailed, illustrated manufacturing instructions and documentation
  9. Incorporated quality control in Ukraine and our logistics there

There exist OpenSource tourniquet projects that do not require sewing and are quick to assemble. What do you think about them?
Every professional TCCC-certified tourniquet designed for combat application uses the sewing process to some extent. Therefore, we are cautious about any OpenSource tourniquet design that does not use sewing at all. Tourniquet should not only be tightened correctly, but should also retain the applied pressure over a prolonged time, when a transported wounded person is in motion or even continues to move themselves. Not to sew a tourniquet also means not to use Velcro, but rather some kind of a friction lock. We do not know about the reliability of 3D printed friction locks and their ability to retain pressure given different webbing types. Furthermore, a self-application of a tourniquet that does not require sewing will be most likely difficult.