A 13-year-old Virginia boy is trying to make a small difference during the coronavirus outbreak — by 3D- printing face masks from home, according to a new report.
Charles Randolph, of Falls Church, told local station WJLA he’s been following the news about COVID-19 and became concerned when he learned about those who are most vulnerable to the infection.
“I saw in the news that high-risk patients [are] people with existing diseases like heart problems and asthma,” Randolph told the outlet.
He told the station he immediately thought of his great-uncle who needs a heart transplant. He thought that his relative, and others like him, could use a mask amid widespread shortages.
So he got to work on his parents’ 3D printer, creating a mask he got off a public domain website.
“You use a slicer which takes the product that you got off [the website] Thingiverse and it turns it into code that the 3D printer can read,” Randolph said.
It takes him about 90 minutes and costs him about a dollar to make a single mask, he told the outlet.
Now he’s producing more and looking into where he can donate them, he said.
He said the masks probably wouldn’t be sufficient for doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients — but at the very least, they could help his uncle.
Before creating the mask, Randolph only made toys on the 3D printer, he told the station. He took enrichment classes on how to use the technology when he was younger.
“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.”