ANDOVER, Mass. — The coronavirus has inspired countless kitchen table face mask factories, but a handful of teenagers in this Boston suburb are taking the do-it-yourself approach a step further.
Pratheek Kuimanda and five of his friends are producing face shields for health care workers with 3D printers. So far, they’ve distributed 250 face shields to local hospitals.
“I don’t have much homework at this time, and additionally, my grandma was a physician,” said Kuimanda, 17. “And just thinking of her in retrospect, and her memory when she passed, if she were out in the field helping patients, I would personally want to help her out.”
Guided by mentors at Andover High School, the boys reached out to a local company producing medical-grade, N95 face masks. Officials there suggested they produce face shields.
So the teenage team found a design by a Czechoslovakian company called Prusa3D and borrowed 3D printers from the local public library, several local families and two from the school itself.
They’re creating face shields, reinforcement pieces and ear pieces. They’ve been raising money to pay for their supplies.
So far, they’ve delivered shields to Lawrence General Hospital, the nursing home at Carleton-Willard Village in Bedford, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Duncan McBrien, 15, says he hopes to make life easier for health care workers, who in the early days of the pandemic faced shortages of personal protective equipment.
“You would hear the reports on TV about the nurses and everybody, and the nurses struggling and having to reuse masks every single day,” he said. “We are trying to help them because they are obviously under a lot of stress, and it’s a tough situation for them.
“We are just trying to make it as easy as possible,” he said.
Genevieve DiNatale writes for The Andover Townsman and The Eagle-Tribune. Reach her at email@example.com.