James Chung bought his kids, currently ages 10 and 7, a 3-D printer a year and a half ago as a tool to learn something new, to teach them and himself about 3-D CAD design and printing.
While they spent over a year making things that interested them—one kid likes to make ship parts, as he loves the Titanic, and the other prints out things related to unicorns—they switched focus a week or so ago to help health care workers during the COVID-19 health crisis by making face shields.
Chung watched a CNN special with his wife and kids on Budmen Industries, a central New York company that was printing personal protective equipment face shields for frontline medical workers to help fight a lack of medical supplies.
Stepping up and in to make PPE
Chung and Rozzi aren’t the only one’s using their 3-D printers to help efforts to bolster supplies in the state:
“My kids were like, ‘we have a 3-D printer, why can’t we help them too?’,” Chung said. “I contacted the person behind Budmen and they were great, they gave us the 3-D printed files on how to produce the mask, and connected me to a few hospitals in the area. I was amazed to hear that they were reusing masks, which is not ideal for hospital use.”
Since they began making masks a couple of weeks ago, they’ve made 50 so far; most have been donated to Rutgers Medical School and Valley Hospital. They’re waiting on filament, the material needed for 3-D printing, to arrive to print more.
An at-home 3-D printer isn’t ideal to produce a mass quantity of shields, Chung explained, as one design takes three to four hours to complete. And once the material is all printed, Chung and his children have to assemble the components, too.
Producing the masks has been a positive experience for his children, who he said “feel like they’re doing something to help frontline medical workers.” As for the hospitals, they’re “really thankful as well, as they don’t have a real budget to buy this stuff.”
Chung is covering the costs for all the filament they use to produce the masks.
Stockton University data science major Gavin Rozzi is using his 3-D printer to make masks and face shields as well, which garnered him a shout out from Gov. Phil Murphy in his daily COVID-19 press briefing Monday.
Rozzi’s masks take six to seven hours to complete per mask, so time allows him to create two to three masks per day. Rozzi is accepting donations to enable him to continue to make the PPE for health care workers, and started a Twitch account for anyone to see his 3-D printer in action.
He is also sharing his process and patterns with other 3-D printer owners who can pitch in and make more.
“With the power of social media, I had people in different states that I ordinarily never would have crossed paths with being inspired by this and using it to help their own communities,” he said in an interview with Stockton. “It’s amplifying the impact tremendously.”