The global coronavirus pandemic, also called COVID-19, has brought mass closures and cancellations of events, businesses, and schools across the country and around the world. The viral outbreak has caused many to take necessary precautions to reduce their chance of infection by routinely washing their hands, disinfecting surfaces, and wearing face masks. The pandemic has caused panic around the country resulting in a shortage of medical supplies including surgical masks.
Thirteen-year-old Virginia local, Charles Randolph, is one of the many children on break from school due to COVID-19 closures and in his downtime, he decided to use his parents’ 3-D printer to make a small difference for those impacted by the virus.
“I saw in the news that high-risk patients [are] people with existing diseases like heart problems and asthma,” Randolph told ABC News WJLA. Randolph had already been using the 3-D printer to make toys and other small items.
“This is the first real, useful thing that I’ve made,” he said. “I feel pretty good. I’m pretty quiet, chill. Yeah, I feel pretty good about this.”
When the public health crisis came to his hometown of Falls Church, he decided to learn how to make something they could all use—face masks. He got the idea after finding out that his uncle needed a heart transplant and wanted to give him something that could keep his condition from worsening.
“You use a slicer which takes the product that you got off Thingiverse and it turns it into code that the 3-D printer can read. This is the first real, useful thing that I’ve made,” adds Randolph. The masks cost a dollar to make and the process takes about 90 minutes. He is looking to create more masks to donate to local hospitals in the area in desperate need of supplies. Randolph says, “It may not be 100% of a filtration system but it works.”