The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the world. Additionally, the pandemic has led to challenges for many organizations whose mission is to protect and treat vulnerable populations while protecting themselves. Lisa Poppaw, Executive Director of Crossroads Safehouse, is faced with protecting her staff from contracting the virus, while continuing to provide direct services to domestic violence victims in emergency shelter.
“Our staff is in very real danger of coming in contact with this virus on a daily basis. Knowing the commitment of my staff to serve the clients coming into shelter, I wanted to do everything in my power to protect them so they can continue to protect this community.” With that in mind, Poppaw reached out to Heidi Hostetter and Nathan Morimitsu of H2 Manufacturing Solutions to inquire about a solution to the mask shortage. While Hostetter was digging to find masks to provide the Safehouse, she realized there may be a different solution, and one that allows for multiple uses and the ability to be sterilized in between while still being effective – and a solution that she will make available to the public.
“After speaking with Nathan, we both realized there was a solution to this mask shortage, an open source file by Copper 3D. We quickly realized the real magic is partnering with students out of school and professionals laid off from their industries, to start providing safer masks at a faster pace. And masks that are better than using nothing or reusing masks that are meant for one-time use. People just want to help, so they answered our call,” stated Heidi Hostetter, President of H2 Manufacturing Solutions.
After the discovery of the open source mask file, created by Copper 3D, and the securing of copper filled PLA (Polylactic Acid or Polylactide) 3D printing filament, Hostetter and Morimitsu were certain that they could help.
Copper as a metal is naturally antimicrobial, which offers added protection, and filters for the valves can be made from almost anything. “These masks won’t be as good as masks that are rated and sterile, but they will be orders of magnitude better than reusing masks while trying to sterilize in between uses or resorting to bandannas or other ineffective fabric barriers,” stated Nathan Morimitsu, Director of Operations of H2 Manufacturing Solutions, “Additionally, we may be able to get these masks in the hands of others like veterinarians, nonprofit staffers with direct public contact and possibly medical workers in an effort to continue to keep them as safe as possible.”
H2 Manufacturing Solutions is working to refine the files to make them print faster and assemble easier, and as soon as the filament is in, they will be utilizing their resources and numerous students and professionals in the manufacturing industry who have 3D printers available and ready to use to meet the demand for these masks.
For access to the refined open source mask files, contact Heidi Hostetter; (303) 517-6541 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Nathan Morimitsu; (970) 980-8798 / email@example.com.