Holmes Library staff produces 3-D surgical mask extension straps for healthcare workers


Story submitted by Steve Diffey from Holmes Community College

Wearing personal protective equipment for hours on end is tough in normal situations for our health care professionals, but COVID-19 has made it that more stressful on the amount of time they are required to be protected.

Quinn Callendar, a 12-year-old Boy Scout from British Columbia, Canada, saw a need to help workers relieve some of the daily stress on their bodies from the PPE, so he began producing surgical mask extension straps from his 3D printer, which relieve the ears of healthcare workers.

Callendar began churning out these devices on his own. Requests poured in from all over the world, and he decided to share the design created by Thingiverse.com user Suraky. The design can be found at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4249113. The 3D file has now been downloaded over 85,000 times.

McMorrough Library, on the Goodman Campus, has a Makerspace that uses new and emerging technologies, such as 3D printers, robotics, virtual reality systems, etc. Holmes Community College Director of Library Services Jim Thompson said he and his staff are always looking for ways to help the community and wished to provide help to healthcare professionals who are working on the forefront of the COVID pandemic.

“We are always thinking of new ways to use our resources for the good of others,” Thompson said. “My wife shared the design with me based off of a Facebook post she saw on her newsfeed.”

Thompson said a friend of his, who is an ICU nurse at Winter Haven Hospital in Florida, also saw the Facebook post, and reached out to see if the Holmes Library System could help them. Thompson then began to immediately produce the straps and contact local healthcare facilities to offer help.

“We have printed upwards of 200 at the moment and are currently assisting independent healthcare workers and entire healthcare facilities,” Thompson said. “We have sent shipments to Baptist Medical Center in Kosciusko and Winter Haven Hospital in Florida and are working on a large shipment for University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.”

The largest 3D printer in the McMorrough Makerspace can print nine ear straps at a time, and it takes four hours to complete the process.

“We are so grateful for the support of healthcare workers from our community,” Baptist-Attala Chief Nursing Officer Allison Schuler said. “We thought it was very innovative of Jim Thompson to utilize a 3D printer for something that is essential to healthcare workers. The mask straps that we received will definitely be utilized in our everyday work life. Thanks so much for the thoughtfulness during these unchartered times.”

Thompson said he and McMorrough Library’s Librarian Sarah Clay also came up with a way to show gratitude to the healthcare workers by manufacturing a personalized wooden placard to place in shipments to facilities.

“I wanted to create something significant as a way to show our thanks for all of the wonderful healthcare workers risking their lives daily,” Thompson said. “We designed the placard and used our Glowforge in the makerspace to laser cut and engrave it. The process took about an hour, and it can be hung on a wall or from a desk.”

Any healthcare workers or facilities in need of straps may contact Jim Thompson at [email protected] or call (662) 472-9164.

Photo: Staff members at Attala-Baptist try on the surgical mask extension straps produced by the 3-D printer in McMorrough Library on the Goodman Campus of Holmes Community College.

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