TRINITY, Fla. -- J.W. Mitchell High School freshman Jonus Goldstein, 14, is using 3D printers to make reusable masks for health care workers and others at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
- Jonus Goldstein, 14, is printing up to six masks per day but hopes to expand
- Masks meant for those at forefront of fight against COVID-19
- Jonus says his reusable masks can help health care workers stretch resources
- Want to help? Donate to help pay for supplies for 3-D printing
- CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATES: In the Central Florida area | In the Tampa Bay area
"My mom showed me this article from a college in Montana, and they were coming up with models to 3D print masks to help with the shortage of masks," Jonus said. "Jokingly, she was like, 'Oh, can you print this?' not thinking that I could do anything. Then I printed it, and I was like, 'Oh, look, it works!' And she was like, 'Oh, my gosh!'"
Jonus got his printer for Christmas a few years ago, but said it hasn't gotten much use lately.
"I printed Baby Yoda from 'The Mandalorian'," Jonus said. "Just, you know, a lot of fun stuff, but it kind of turned into a real world, actual purpose to 3D print the masks because you can save lives with what you're doing."
The reusable masks are made of two parts that fasten fabric from a regular face mask over the mouth area. He said the reusable masks can help stretch resources.
"A nurse gets one of these," Jonus said, holding up a fabric mask, "they could turn it into six uses instead of just one mask."
When Jonus's principal at Mitchell found out what he was doing, she loaned him the school's 3D printer. With it, he said he can make up to six masks per day. He expected to borrow yet another printer from a different school, which would allow him to expand that number.
Jonus's mom, Heather, said she reached out to a friend who works at Trinity Medical Center who expressed an interest in the masks. They gave some to her, and his mom said others they know who work in public safety have also expressed an interest. Jonus said the masks are free.
"Everyone on the front line, have them. I'm trying to help out as much as I can," he said.
That means putting out the call for help to the community. Jonus is encouraging anyone with a 3D printer who wants to help to begin printing masks themselves or donate supplies, like printer filament or the elastic bands used to secure the masks. One of the first to follow in his footsteps is his friend and fellow Mitchell student, Samantha Solomon. She said she learned about what he was doing in a video posted online by Pasco County Schools.
"His video showed me that I could really be a part of it and help," said Solomon, 14. "Even though I may not be a doctor or part of the health care profession, I'm still able to help in my own way."
Samantha said her printer can produce two or three masks per day.
Both teens have personal reasons for getting involved. For Jonus, that inspiration is his younger brother, Elias, who suffers from an immune disorder.
"He has really low T-cells and B-cells, so he can reinfect himself with literally anything he touches," Jonus said. "So, it really goes to my heart, because there's tons of people out there with disorders, immune disorders. they need help. There's people on the front lines that don't even have a mask to wear in front of a patient. So, I really just want to help those people out."
Samantha's dad is an emergency room doctor.
"Being able to feel like I'm protecting him and helping him while he's protecting others is something that is very cool for me," she said.
Jonus said he's able to send the files needed to program 3D printers to make the masks to anyone who's intersted For more information on that or how to donate materials, e-mail email@example.com.