Mid-South Makers create masks with 3D printers to help healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Mar. 31, 2020 at 7:25 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphians who own 3D printers are teaming up to support medical professionals in the battle against the COVID-19, and they’re doing it while safely quarantining at home.

“Anything we can do to help them have sort of an armor against this virus, keep them on the front lines, that’s going to benefit all of us,” said Rich Thompson, president of the Mid-South Makers.

Rich Thompson is the President of the Mid-South Makers, a non-profit group dedicated to teaching people about cutting edge tools like 3-D printing.

Seeing the current problems with mask shortages in the health care industry, their 70-plus members decided they could help.

The 3D printers are producing frames that are then outfitted with clear plastic covering and worn as personal protection equipment for healthcare professionals.

The Mid-South Makers also has members who have formed sewing circles, producing cotton masks for patients and people visiting healthcare facilities.

Using more than 30 3D printers, the Mid-South Makers are producing 500 cheap, easily disposable face shields every day.

“We’re working together to make sure that every responder has personal protection equipment here in the Mid South,” said Thompson. “That’s the goal that’s animated us to do this.”

The shields are then packaged into boxes and picked up by the Memphis Medical Society.

“The face shields that they’re working on are really one of the most critical needs right now,” said Clint Cummins, CEO of Memphis Medical Society.

It’s both the recent advancement of 3D printing technology and the generosity of Memphians that is making this incredible effort possible.

“I think it’s a great thing about Memphis is everybody can come together and support each other like that,” Cummins said.

“There’s not anyone here that’s said no,” said Thompson. “Everyone wants to help. It’s a big old ocean of trouble and we got a lot of cups. And so everyone taking their cup and trying to drain some of that trouble away.”

If you have a 3D printer and want to help make frames, or if you want to help sow cotton masks, the Mid-South Makers is asking for volunteers and donations. To help out, go to midsouthmakers.org or visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheMidsouthMakers/.

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