FALLS CHURCH, Va. — A 13-year-old Virginia boy is pitching in to help with the face mask shortage brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Charles Randolph is home from school and will stay there after Gov. Ralph Northam ordered the state’s schools to remain closed for the rest of the academic year.
Randolph has not been idle at his Falls Church, home, however. He has been using his family’s 3D printer to create face masks, WJLA reported. He came up with the idea after learning his great-uncle needed a heart transplant, the television station reported. Randolph decided to make a mask for his uncle and produced one within 90 minutes. Cost to make the mask? One dollar.
“I saw in the news that high-risk patients, people with existing diseases like heart problems and asthma, I thought this would help him, " Randolph told WJLA, adding that he got the instructions to make the masks through a public domain website.
“You use a slicer, which takes the product that you got off Thingiverse and it turns it into code that the 3D printer can read," Randolph told the television station. “This is the first real, useful thing that I’ve made,” adds Randolph.
Randolph’s mother, a culinary arts and sciences instructor in Arlington, could not be prouder. Her tweet about her son’s work went viral.
“My mini-me spent his day using a 3D printer to make a medical mask for his high-risk uncle who is at home waiting for a heart transplant and he is printing more to donate,” Renee Randolph tweeted. “He makes my heart smile every day!”
The tweet, posted Saturday, has been liked more than 82,000 times and retweeted more than 13,000 times.
Randolph is researching where he can donate them, WJLA reported.
Randolph is not the only teen making masks through a 3D printer. Dylan Capshaw, 14, of Scottsdale Arizona, was also creating them, KPNX reported.
“They’re really simple; they’re just hard plastic and they’re 3D-printed, so they can be easy to wipe down and cost about a dollar to make,” Capshaw, the son of a Scottsdale dentist, told the television station.
Randolph said he will continue to make the masks from home and is researching where he can donate them, WJLA reported.
"It may not be 100 percent of a filtration system but it works,” he told the television station “I feel pretty good. I’m pretty quiet, chill. Yeah, I feel pretty good about this.”