Gaithersburg couple 3D prints personal protective equipment


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GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WDVM) — A Montgomery County couple is making good use of their downtime during the stay at home order, by producing personal protective equipment for hospital workers.

Personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, for medical professionals, is critically low in Montgomery County.

“I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner,” said Hobie Cohen.

He said he saw other people 3D printing the equipment online, so he decided to give it a try. He first got into 3D printing, modeling and design several years ago.

“It just occurred to me, we have a printer that’s just sitting here, why don’t we find out if it would be useful,” said Cohen.

Last week, Alicia and Hobie Cohen called around to local hospitals to see what was in high demand, and how they could help.

“Holy Cross said, ‘we don’t need face masks that are 3D printed, we need face shields,'” the Cohens explained.

The hospital told them it was in need of thousands of those shields. Hobie says a doctor at Holy Cross helped him out with determining specifications and requirements for the shields.

That’s when the Cohens got to work printing masks and spreading the word about their mission.

Alicia shared what they were doing on social media and started a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of printing the shields. Hobie says they have been able to get the cost to produce each mask under $1.50.

“We were surprised that we were getting donations from people we didn’t know,” Alicia said.

The GoFundMe has raised over $4,000 in less than two weeks.

The Cohens aren’t in this fight alone, they’ve partnered with other locals with 3D printers looking to lend a helping hand. Local businesses have also offered to sponsor their efforts.

“We can’t do this on our own, we need help. Our single printer can’t make thousands of face shields,” said Hobie.

They have also discussed using the donations to purchase already-made shields in order to get the hospitals as many shields as possible in the shortest amount of time.

“If we can all join to together and make one giant team and giant effort, I believe we can really serve the DMV area,” Alicia said.

The Cohens are planning to make a donation of 100 masks to Montgomery County’s Holy Cross Hospitals this weekend.

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