By: Sara Reinthaler
We’ve seen lots of individuals and families coming together to make products like masks and face shields in their own homes (we have some of these people in our own school community), but have you ever wondered what makerspaces might be doing with their high tech digital fabrication equipment to help during the pandemic?
Lots of challenges and concerns have come up in hospitals and other essential businesses due to the way that the highly contagious virus Covid-19 spreads, and everyone in these industries is scrambling to create new products and protocols to address these issues.
By its very nature, the maker community is perfectly equipped for this very thing - problem solving using innovative thinking and design is what makers DO. And they have risen to the challenge in droves.
Some school makerspaces have been converted into prototype testing labs and mini factories as teachers and community makers work to come up with innovative designs to solve new problems that have arisen in hospitals.
One of the helpful tools being 3d printed is a face mask extender which ensures a secure fit of a surgical or homemade mask while preventing rubbing on the ears of the doctors and nurses who are often required to wear masks for their entire shifts. If you have a 3D printer at home, you can find many versions of these.
Here is one: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4249113
Even if you don’t have a laser cutter or 3D printer at home, you can still help. Mask extenders can be made from fabric and buttons, snaps, or even velcro. Here are a few designs I have made (all of my designs are between 5-7 inches in length).
What can you make with what you have in your home? Do you know how to make a friendship bracelet? Can you finger knit? Do you crochet? See if you can come up with a design for a mask extender and then check with a doctor/nurse/first responder you know to see if they might be able to use them. Or pair up with someone already making masks and see if you can drop your designs together to a local hospital in need.
- distance learning