GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Students at Colorado School of Mines are using their engineering skills to work as part of a statewide effort. They will help provide personal protective equipment to workers on front lines in the fight against COVID-19.
“Each mask takes about three hours,” explained Chance Reeves, a senior at Colorado School of Mines.
From his home in Westminster, Reeves is using 3D printers to create PPE for doctors and nurses.
“I was really excited to start getting printing equipment that somebody could use,” he told CBS4.
Reeves’ mom is a nurse at a hospital in Wyoming. After seeing the challenges she has faced, he was inspired to find a way to help.
“Just kind of knowing what nurses and health professionals go through without having the proper PPE, I wanted to do anything I could to try to help my family and other families alike,” Reeves said.
Reeves has been 3D printing for about 10 years, and is passionate about creating physical items with the machine. At his home, he has seven 3D printers working to address the PPE shortage.
“Some were actually given to me or purchased for really cheap because they didn’t work,” he said. “And I was able to fix them and get them printing great.”
He’s already printed more than 200 so-called Montana masks for hospitals in Colorado and Wyoming. It’s a type of high filtration mask that tightly fits a provider’s face and allows sanitation between use.
“The filter just comes down and you can put a new filter in,” he showed CBS4. “It’s replaceable.”
Reeves said the Montana masks were designed by a company in Billings, Montana. The company made some revisions to the mask design after getting healthcare feedback.
“This mask has a larger filter, and the surface area of where they breathe through is a lot larger,” he said, showing the newest model. “The holes are larger for straps and also the filter goes in from the front.”
Reeves said after donating most of the masks to hospitals in need, he’s now creating them for friends and family. Using his passion for 3D printing, to help out during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I just like to use my spare time to help other people and these machines that I have are finally getting put to good use,” he said.
Reeves is part of a team of students and faculty at Colorado School of Mines working for the Make4COVID organization. It’s a partnership of makers who are working to produce equipment needed by healthcare workers. Some of his fellow students are working on making face shields and ear savers as well.