PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Pittsburgh school just joined in the efforts to provide protective masks to local healthcare workers, using 3D printers.

Western Pennsylvania’s School for Blind Children tells KDKA’s Meghan Schiller that staff volunteers have taken the school’s seven 3D printers home and begun pumping out “polymer masks” using the technology.

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“Sitting in that empty school building are six or seven 3D printers that have now been safely delivered or will be by the end of this week to various homes — mine included — where we can start to mass produce these masks,” said Dr. Heidi Ondek, superintendent, Western PA School for Blind Children.

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“We can make maybe seven or eight a day on average, but multiply it out over six to seven printers and 500 school districts in the commonwealth, imagine the potential!”

The school is working with local mask donation coordinator Tom Joseph and Epiphany Environmental in the South Side to put the finishing touches on the masks, including the filter centers and straps.

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Dr. Ondek says she hopes her school encourages other schools across the area to also make masks, even going as far as sharing a free file with “how-to” instructions to neighboring districts.

Meghan Schiller