Helena Educators creating masks on 3D printers

The last few weeks has brought the ingenuity and creativity of our educators into the spotlight. Caretakers and innovators by nature, our educators are expanding their innovative skills for the betterment of the community.

Here’s the background. Recently, a dentist in Billings created a pattern for reusable masks for healthcare workers that can be printed on a 3D printer. Rather than patenting the design, the dentist elected to share the model with anyone who wanted it.

And here’s how it relates to Helena. Two educators in the Helena School District are using their 3D printers and that Billings-created pattern to print masks for community healthcare workers. Jake Spearson, HHS Drafting Educator, has a few 3D printers and has been printing masks for Helena healthcare workers. Ryan Swenson, CHS Math Educator, recently received a Helena Education Foundation Great Ideas grant for innovation to purchase a 3D printer intended to create physical objects through a 3-dimensional design process, utilizing skills learned in Honors Math. He has since used that 3D printer to create two masks based on the pattern created in Billings. St. Pete’s now has one of them and is determining how many and what sizes they most need.

The decision by Swenson to use his 3D printer for the greater good was lauded by Helena Education Association, whose Executive Director Lisa Cordingley said, “We are thrilled to see this expanded application of the grant purchase. We are so proud of Ryan and teachers like him who serve not only our students, but our whole community.”

The masks are reusable, and a manufacturer in Billings in producing the filters Here’s a link to that story: https://billingsgazette.com/news/local/billings-manufacturer-ups-production-to-meet-national-demand-for-mask/article_365479a5-42b1-5988-9203-29d32fbc36f8.html