INDIANAPOLIS — It started as just a hobby, but now they are using their 3D printing side hustle to help protect people from the coronavirus.
Bruce Merrill and his brother Bradley McHugh have more than 20 3D printers. They used them for printing special projects and small requests for customers as a side gig they call Print3d Products.
But now, their hobby has become vital in the fight against coronavirus.
McHugh says they found a template online to print headbands that could attach to a transparency sheet.
"The old transparency sheets that your elementary teacher used to use. If you hold punch them, you can make it into a face mask," said McHugh.
The machines can print two headbands at a time and require about an hour for each print. So far, the brothers have printed about 400 headbands.
While they can provide the material to create the headbands, they do need more transparency sheets to continue producing the masks. They've put a call out on social media for donations and have received some, but they need more.
"We will keep printing the headbands for the masks as long as we keep receiving transparency sheets," said McHugh.
Merrill has received a lot of requests for the masks on Facebook. He is delivering a box to the Avon Fire Department this week. He has also been in contact with a nurse at Ascension St. Vincent about the masks.
"They are checking them out and going to show them to the doctors there. Hopefully, we'll be donating more there in the near future," said Merrill.
With the transparency sheet donations, it costs Merill and McHugh about 35 cents each mask. They say it's their way to give back to the community during this time.
"We just want to do our part," said McHugh, "I mean a lot of these doctors and nurses, they are going in there, and they need to protect themselves too in order to keep the spread of the virus from continuing. This is what we can do to help out."
If you need PPE masks or have transparency sheets that can be donated to Merill and McHugh you can contact them at Printedproducts@gmail.com, 317-697-9118 or on Facebook.