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Boy makes 3D-printed masks as medical professionals face equipment shortage

A 14-year-old Rancho Solano Preparatory student is using his 3D printer to make medical masks as medical professionals face a shortage.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — As hospitals around the country look for ways to conserve personal protective equipment, one Arizona teen thinks he has the perfect solution for the situation.

Dylan Capshaw, a 14-year-old Rancho Solano Preparatory student, started putting his 3D printer to use printing medical masks.

“They’re really simple; they’re just hard plastic and they’re 3D-printed, so they can be easy to wipe down and cost about a dollar to make,” Capshaw said, holding one of his masks.

The mask is a smooth plastic shell that houses a 1-square inch piece of a medical mask as its filter. One surgical mask can be used in six to nine of Capshaw’s masks. 

The front of the mask houses the filter and can easily be changed.

Credit: Chris Latella/12 News
A small piece of surgical mask is used to act as a filter for Capshaw’s medical mask, as demonstrated Monday, March 23, 2020.

“So, any hospital-grade wipes can disinfect it by wiping it down and the filter can easily be changed after each person uses it,” Capshaw explained. “This could help a lot.  There are so many mask shortages and workers don’t have masks to protect them against the Coronavirus.”

Capshaw, whose mother is a dentist in Scottsdale, is calling on anyone with a 3D printer, including dental offices that are shut down due to the virus, to start printing and donating the masks.

“They’re cheap, easy to make and affordable, so if people can just make them and donate them, it could really help slow the spread.”

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