FOWLERVILLE, Mich. (WLNS)– Groups and businesses in Mid-Michigan are teaming up to make face masks in a new high tech way.
Shawn Merem is the owner of Mission Impossible Print Shop in Fowlerville and owns a Trotec Speedy 400.
The machine that’s meant for engraving and cutting and is now helping to create face masks.
“There’s a gal Tara, she reached out,” said Merem. “She knows me and she’s in the area, and she says ‘listen, I’m trying to cut those things, for people that people that help out, basically our heroes, our medical heroes out here, can you help, I know you’ve got that laser thing.”
For Merem, it was a no brainer, he says he immediately knew he wanted to help.
“When she reached out, our mindset was already, you know, let’s jump in and help,” he said.
The two posted a video on Facebook showing the machine cutting face mask outlines.
That’s when Amanda Feltner, from Face Mask Warriors, knew she wanted their help. She reached out to Merem and they all joined together.
Feltner says production has quadrupled since they teamed up with Merem.
“I went from making 12 masks a day, to 12 masks an hour,” she said.
Within weeks, the group has made thousands of masks. “My group alone is around 8,000 masks,” Feltner said.
The group is making surgical grade masks and cloth masks.
“The medical grade ones go to hospitals, clothe ones would go to smaller localities, like grocery stores or something like that,” said Feltner.
Feltner added that it’s only costing them 30 to 40 cents per surgical mask, but it’s costing close to a dollar to make a cloth mask.
Feltner added that they are prioritizing making surgical masks to give to workers on the front lines.
“If we can save a doctor or a nurse, if we can save their life, they can save hundreds of lives,”
Members of the group have shipped some of their surgical masks to the CDC to be tested to see if they are as effective as N95 masks. An organizer with the group, says if the CDC approves the masks of being 95-99 percent effective, workers who make the material for the masks and actually make the masks could be seen as essential workers and more masks could be made.
Face Mask Warriors are also making gowns for doctors and nurses.
“If somebody sneezes on them or coughs on them, they don’t have to change out of their entire gear, they can just take that gown off,” said Feltner.
“A lot of people are actually out there trying to do a lot of good things for people so we’re just one of them,” said Merem.
Feltner says they are looking for people to help create masks and gowns and donations of halyard sterilization wrap to make the surgical masks.