3D printers shine in local mask-making efforts


3D printers can make hospital-grade masks

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Dan Myers is turning his small Vancouver industrial design company into the next line of defense in the regions effort to defeat the coronavirus.

He uses 3D printers to fabricate a number of things, but when he talked with his neighbor an intensive care nurse and learned about the expected need for surgical masks — Dan went into action. He borrowed design specifications, got the instructions and he’s now using his printer to make reusable N-95 hospital grade face mask.

“Theoretically, we can scale all the way down to a child’s  face and all the way up to a giant’s face,” said Myers of DM3 Consulting. “But, we’ve kind of come up with three standard sizes that are seeming to fit most people at the hospital.”

He’s using just two 3D printers and so far he’s been able to use them to get a handful of masks to the frontline medical workers in Vancouver who are treating sick people.

“It’s really nice to be able to do something,” he said. “It’s very scary for those that are unprotected and that’s happening more and more these days and they’re still going to work and still taking care of people so it feels great just to be able to do something.”

Eight other 3D printers are expected to be up and running in the community room of the Oregon Coast Community College in Lincoln City this weekend.

Lindsey Johnson has used the printers to make bits and pieces for kites he’s sold all over the world.  Now he’s turning the power of 3D printing into a tool that’s helped him produce face shields, with plastic glass he gets from Portland.

“I tell people here in Lincoln City and in our community that what we’re doing is not exceptional, it is the norm,” said Lindsey Johnson of OCCC’s Shield Me Please program. “It’s just what we do.”

Johnson and a partner are working to make 200 shields that will be cleaned and sanitized before being sent to hospitals in both Lincoln City and Newport.

Together, Myers and Johnson are two people with the power of technology in hand, filling a need that is not being met through conventional channels. It’s something as simple as a face mask or shield, but for health care workers its a lifesaver.

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