Lansing, Mich. (WLNS)– As healthcare facilities struggle to keep adequate supplies of personal protective gear, many in the community have stepped up to help. A group of people in Mid-Michigan have now turned to 3-D printing to help meet supply demands for face masks and shields.
“We have over 150 people right now across the state printing and over 200 3-D printers running,” Melissa Rabideau, Owner of tinrkLAB in Okemos said.
The idea to 3-D print masks came to Rabideau on Monday. She started a GoFundMe just to purchase materials to make the masks. That’s when other people wanted to get involved in the efforts.
“We started getting people sending me emails saying hey I have a printer a home how can I help,” Rabideau said.
Rabideau created a Facebook page called “Print Force” to coordinate everything and help connect people who are making the masks.
In addition to communicating with Sparrow, Rabideau said she also wants to make sure other facilities that are in need get the masks too.
“We’re working with McLaren, we’re working with Memorial in Owosso, we’re working with some home care facilities… so a lot of the smaller ones that might not have access to the same resources we’re working with them as well,” Rabideu said.
Local school districts are getting involved as well. With special permission, a team of faculty members from Holt Public Schools was able to take 3-D printers from schools and bring them to their own homes.
“It’s really hard to be a helper and a person that’s in a helping profession that your life’s mission is to help people to be told to stay home and don’t help anybody, so it’s been really fun to kind of be a helper,” Holt High School Teacher and Robotics Coach Lisa Weise said.
Even if you don’t have a 3-D printer at home, Weise said there are lots of other ways people can help.
“Each hospital has a list of things that they want. If you have those things in a garage or a basement find out where to take them and take them there,” Weise said.
The mask makers plan to continue to print masks as long as the need is there and the resources are available.