Great Falls College-MSU creates medical mask with a 3D printer

GREAT FALLS- Two teachers from Great Falls College-MSU are helping to flatten the curve by building new and improved surgical masks to give to local clinics.

They’ve only been working on this for a couple of days but they already have six masks completed and ready for testing.

When Dr. Brenda Canine ran across a computer file created by the Billings Clinic on how to make these masks, she quickly joined in. 

With the help of Laura Wight, they began to go create a mask all with the help of a 3D printer.

When Brenda spoke with her sister, who is a health care worker in Alaska, she was told supplies were so low, workers could possibly be seeing patients without proper protective equipment. 

When Brenda came across this information she was inspired to help the local health centers in Montana as much as possible.

“When I saw the article, I thought maybe that could be happening here too, and if we can contribute in any way that would be helpful,” Brenda said.

Unlike the regular blue mask you see everywhere; these masks are built to last longer.

“They can be washed with soap and water. They can be disinfected with any kind of disinfectant and they're re-usable by the same person,” Wight added. “So if I have one of those masks, instead of continually having to throw it away and using a disposable mask these masks are able to be cleaned and be re-used. They’re much more durable and can be used for a much longer period of time.”

Even though there are only six new masks ready to be tested as of now, Laura says they've got plenty of supplies so they're going to make as many as possible.

“Now our target is about 20, and we’re hoping that even if we can donate 20 to Great Falls Clinic, assuming that they approve the models, that we give them and hopefully for Benefis as well.”

Brenda and Laura believe that instead of relying on manufacturers to keep making thousands and thousands of these regular masks, it may be best to use something more durable.


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