Three McKinney ISD staff members worked together to create close to 50 3D printed masks in the last month.
Terena Blass, a science teacher at Evans Middle School, said she first found inspiration for making these masks when she read an article about a doctor printing masks in Montana. The article included downloadable printer files, Blass said.
She shared these files with Clay Mosby, an Evans Middle School engineering teacher, who has access to the district’s 3D printers. The two began printing masks March 22.
“We saw the need and had the resources,” Blass said in an email.
Blass said the masks take about 5 ½ hours each to print, after which sands down the edges and applies a clear coat of paint. Then, dry, elastic is threaded through the mask and tied off with a surgeon’s or square knot, according to Blass.
The masks are unique in the fact that they can be disinfected and reused, Blass said. Additionally, health workers can break N95 masks into nine pieces and insert a single piece into the front of the 3D mask.
“One mask becomes nine masks,” she said.
One critical part of creating the mask is acquiring elastic, Blass said. Lea Ann Palya, a library media resource staff member at Evans Middle School, networked to find elastic in the community, but more is still needed.
Palya has also worked to create cloth masks to be used in conjunction with the 3D masks being made, Blass said.
“[Our goal is] to provide support to those self-sacrificing humans combating COVID-19 and limit the spread of virus among healthcare workers and their families,” Blass said.
So far, the masks have been distributed to health care workers and those who Blass knows are in need; Blass's sister, an anesthesiologist working with critical COVID-19 patients, has distributed the masks among her coworkers.
Those who are able to donate elastic or fabric for creating more masks can contact Blass via email.
McKinney ISD staff create 3D masks for health care workers
The 3D printed masks can be disinfected and reused, according to Terena Blass, an Evans Middle School science teacher. (Courtesy McKinney ISD)