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HELPING WHILE AT HOME Patrick Tsang, a sixth grader at St. John’s School, has been 3D printing mask extenders for healthcare professionals.
In March, when I heard that my school would start online learning because of the coronavirus, I was so sad. I enjoy school; it’s where I learn, socialize and make connections with friends. I’ve been in my house ever since. As I’m adjusting to this new normal, I find that I have more time on my hands. Sometimes, I have enough work to do to keep me occupied, while other times, I’ll have too little, so I realized how much I miss my extra activities.
The topic of coronavirus is all over the news, especially to be conscious to wash your hands and not touch your face. As I read that people should wear a face mask, I thought that doctors and nurses who wear a mask all day must hurt their ears with the pressure of the elastic.
Then it hit me – I should 3D print mask strap extenders to relieve the pressure on people’s ears to make their masks more comfortable while they're working. Later that day, I went online and found models of mask extenders. I decided to export them to my 3D printer and print as many as I could to help the doctors and nurses. I use a 3D printer called a Raise3D N2, and I use PLA filament.
A 3D printer is a machine that melts plastic and then oozes it out through a nozzle, allowing me to construct different objects. Filament is the plastic that you insert into your 3D printer. I can print up to 12 small and 20 large extenders per batch.
I’ve been able to provide these extenders to my classmates’ parents who work in hospitals. Some extenders have also made it to people in New York City and Washington D.C. I’ve also helped others who have reached out to me. Healthcare workers can be more comfortable while they work, so they can do their job with more ease. We all have to support one another during this historic event, and I hope I can make a difference.
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