April 20, 2020 - Helping American School in Japan Create 3D Printed Masks

Maranatha High School made the news with a story about how the community is helping protect medical personnel by supplying masks printed with the school's 3D printers to nurses at Kaiser Hospital in Downey. The story gained momentum as it was picked up by more local newspapers and even reported on the KTLA5 news, even trending and reaching readers outside the U.S.
Mr. Miguel Almena, the TILE Lab Coordinator at Maranatha High School, shared, “I received an email during Easter break from a student at the American School in Japan who explained that they would like to do something similar to our project - printing 3D masks. I was more than happy to help and scheduled an hour meeting on Zoom with juniors Aimee Dossor and Julia Neely, along with their teacher, Mrs. Margaret Kim, who is the Design Lab Technical Assistant at the American School. I explained the process of designing and printing a 3D mask, technical aspects to take into account, and the logistics of printing in detail. I also shared other ways in which they can support nurses or medical staff in Tokyo, such as making face shields out of clear transparency, or being a resource to other 3D print facilities who wish to print masks themselves and ship them out to those who have a need.”
To create the 3D printed masks, Mr. Almena located information on a website profiling the work of Dr. Dusty Richardson, a neurosurgeon at the Billings Clinic in Montana, who was freely distributing a print file for a 3D mask he had helped create in order to support hospitals across the globe. Mr. Almena said, “Dr. Richardson created a website called makethemasks.com that provides information about the 3D masks, the print files and instructions for printing, and other important information including tips on how to sanitize the masks and instructions for medical workers. So when people reach out to me, such as the American School in Japan, I am happy to refer them to Dr. Richardson’s website makethemasks.com and assist them through the process of developing a 3D printed mask.”
Mr. Almena feels the experience of working with a school across the globe has been inspiring. He explained, “I want to continue to be a resource to anyone who’s interested in the designing and printing of 3D masks. I would also like to continue to offer Maranatha’s TILE Lab resources to others locally. Recently, I was able to help out the aunt of one of our sophomore students who works in the ER at Huntington Hospital. She was looking for someone to 3D print elastic supports for the masks. I was more than willing to help, so I printed 50 of the elastic supports and delivered them to her at Huntington Hospital.”
Hearing the positive feedback from those in the Maranatha community, reading published news stories about how the 3D printed masks that are helping those in the medical field, and connecting with the school in Japan have all confirmed to Mr. Almena that he made the right decision in producing the 3D masks. He shared, “Doing this project has been awesome! It takes about three hours to print one mask, but it’s hard work that I know is making a difference in the lives of others.”