3D printing: In Support of Health Care Workers – The Makerspace Responds

(From top): Mask strap extender;
Strap in use by a nurse.

The Internet is full of stories about how Makerspaces across the country are using 3D printers to assist with making parts for ventilators, masks and other items to support health care workers. Here at Puget Sound, we are monitoring guidelines to ascertain the best way our Makerspace can contribute to this movement. Jada Pelger, our Makerspace Manager and 3D printing expert, has been closely reviewing options to identify a project that we could sustain and produce in a relatively short time frame.

Jada is currently working with a nurse at a local hospital to test out some of the printing options. She printed a mask and while the end result was great, it took many hours to print and required a lot of finishing work to smooth the edges and prepare for clinical use. The Makerspace can produce more of these masks as needed if the situation arises. To provide more immediate assistance to our healthcare workers, we also experimented with printing mask strap extenders. Officially called “surgical mask tension release bands for ear comfort and extended use,” these mask strap extenders have been reviewed and approved by the National Institutes of Health. These take less time to print and can be put to immediate use to alleviate strain on health care workers who have to wear masks all day and all night. The nurses used them last night and the response is YES! Please print more!

Full Masks

We will continue to produce as many as we can to help our community health care workers.

What we have learned from this experience is that new technology such as 3D printing has the power to solve problems and contribute in many ways to our world. We hope Loggers will continue to embrace this opportunity when we are able to reopen our space!

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