3D-printing enthusiasts all over the world are voluntarily making free, biodegradable protective plastic face masks for healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 outbreaks—and it’s all thanks to a small business in upstate New York.
Isaac Budmen and Stephanie Keefe are the masterminds behind Budmen Industries: a company that designs and sells custom 3D-printers.
The couple was inspired to start making the inexpensive masks after they heard about a coronavirus testing site that was recently set up in Syracuse—just six miles away from their home in Liverpool. Not only that, they read reports on how healthcare workers were in need of protective face shields.
“We started thinking about how can we help, what is something that we could do, with the resources available to us, to help the health care workers,” Budmen told the New York Daily News. “We thought, ‘that’s something a 3D printer can do.’”
Budmen and Keefe then developed a prototype for a single-use mask that can be printed in one hour and assembled in just two minutes. The elastic and foam strips used to secure the mask comfortably to the wearer’s face can be bought at a variety of stores.
Since the dynamic duo’s project has been featured across on national news outlets, they have recruited the help of local teachers to produce the masks in classrooms across the school district. Budmen Industries has also published the templates and assembly instructions for the masks for free on their website.
As more and more healthcare teams have reached out to the couple about getting face masks of their own, hundreds of volunteers from around the world have offered to join the company in 3D-printing the masks for free. According to CNN, the mask design has already been downloaded from their website more than 2,000 times.
Similarly in Montana, Billings Clinic neurosurgeon Dusty Richardson developed a design for a reusable 3D-printed surgical mask so that he and his fellow community members could donate the masks to their local healthcare workers. He has also made the blueprints and assembly instructions available online for free so his fellow 3D-printing enthusiasts can make their own.
This is just one of many positive stories and updates that are coming out of the COVID-19 news coverage this week. For more uplifting coverage on the outbreaks, click here.
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