CSI instructor using free time without classes to make masks
A College of Southern Idaho instructor is making the most of his classes being moved online, by 3D printing masks for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jim Kellis, a machining and manufacturing instructor at CSI, partnered up with Kyle Kutz, a food processing and automation engineering lab assistant also at CSI, after seeing a story online.
"I found some information about printing 3D masks a couple weeks ago online," Kellis said. "So my friend Kyle and I thought that this would be a good idea to print these masks based on the information. We kept hearing about the shortage of PPE (personal protection equipment) that was out there."
"My wife actually sent me the link online that had this mask, and I think maybe 15 minutes later Jim sent me a text saying 'did you see this?' So the next day we put our printers into action printing these masks, because like I said, the need is going to be there, whether it's here or not already," Kutz said.
They got the plans for the masks from the person in Montana and got to work.
However, they still are waiting on one important thing.
"A company in Montana, from what I understand is making the filters to fit in these," Kellis said. "I contacted them, they supposedly have some filter that they're shipping to me."
With those filter on back order, the pair got crafty, using a HEPA filter.
"It'll filter down to 0.3 microns," Kellis said. "So this should be compatible with any medical grade mask that's being used out there in the hospitals right now."
Even if it's not compatible, both Kellis and Kutz agree that some protection is better than none.
"I hope this keeps out first responders and our medical care professionals safe," Kutz said. "If they do need the supplemental mask, I hope that we can provide a safer alternative than just a piece of fabric for them to protect themselves."
Right now, the two can make about 60 masks a day, using 12 3D printers, and plan on helping medical workers and first responders in the Magic Valley first, before seeing if any other cities or states need them.