WAUSAU, Wis (WSAW)-- The Rhinelander High School Hodag Fab Lab is on a mission to keep FDA certified masks in the hands of professionals working in high risk jobs while supplies is limited
3D printed masks made by the Hodag Fab Lab to keep FDA approved masks in the hands of professionals.
As an alternative to medical masks the Hodag Fab Lab is currently 3D-pririnting reusable filtered masks for the general public to use instead. With Fab Lab consisting of 10 3D-printers, the school is able to make about 25 masks every day.
The decision was made to mass produce the masks in early march when Fab Lab Director Michael Wojtusik found a 3D-printing pattern from Montana. After creating a few prototypes the school signed off to start creating the masks 7 days a week for the public. Wojtusik said with the school being one of the only facilities with as many 3D-printers as them in the state, it was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.
"I don't want to look back and say I wish we would have done something. We have all these tax payer resources here, we've got a little bit of knowledge on how to use it and if they can go someplace to help somebody out, that's what we're after,” Wojtusik said.
Since the start of mass production the Fab Lab has been able to create 100 masks for community members at risk. Wojtusik said this has been a great lesson for students on how to utilize their teachings for the greater good.
"Kids often ask, well what are we learning this for. I can guarantee that none of them thought they could possibly be flattening the curve on a pandemic,” Wojtusik said
While the school doesn’t have a plan set yet on how they will distribute the masks, they are hoping to get them into the community soon. This is all in an effort to make sure all health professionals, custodial staff, and employees working in a high risk area would have access to the correct federally approved personal protective equipment. This local action is meant to keep those items in the hands of the people who need them the most, and give the general public a safe alternative.