3D printers used to make masks to fight COVID-19 transmission

Posted at 8:35 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 23:59:50-04

With shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) being reported in some areas with high COVID-19 spread, a solution to the shortages might come in the form of 3D printers.

A Corpus Christi man is already using his devices to produce masks, face shields, and other PPE, and donates it all to another group for distribution to those who work the closest to the novel coronavirus.

“By myself, I can probably make about 12 (masks) a day,” Yourdy Alcaide said.

Alcaide programs a computer to direct the 3D printer to create different shapes out of layers of plastic. A plastic mask alone would provide some protection from infection, but Alcaide took it one step further by adding a creative filter.

“I actually bought a filter for your (home's) air conditioner," he said. "I got the highest grade possible that you could get at Lowe's, took it apart, and made little strips (that go inside the masks). It’s not perfect, but it’s what I have available, and what I can help with.”

Alcaide got involved in this project after Stephanie Garrett reached out to him. KRIS 6 News reported last week that her father, former firefighter and current paramedic Ed Escobedo, was going to New Jersey to run ambulance calls in areas hard hit by COVID-19.

She started collecting 3D printed PPE when her dad started having supply problems.

“I didn’t like that my dad had to use the same mask over and over again," Garrett said. "And I feel like that if I know people (who make masks), and I know how to (collect and distribute donations), that I might as well put what I know to work."

Garrett said she's received donations from across the country, which she's passed along to fire departments, hospitals, and other high-risk places.

Some of the donors include Wesley Phillips of Manufacture 3D, Aannah Cruz of 3D Printers, Alcaide, Forward 3D Printing, Richard Parr, RAH3D, Linda Thomas of Triquerta CNC, Jeremy Sarbacher, and Alpine Works.