North Andover biology teacher using 3D printers to make masks

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS. (WHDH) - A North Andover teacher is using 3D printers to make masks for health care workers as hospitals face a shortage during the coronavirus pandemic.

“If their lives could be spared from contracting the virus but it wasn’t because of unavailability of proper protective gear, I find that to be unacceptable,” said Bennet Ahearn. “These masks are meant for people that are working with something that they know is either insufficient or they don’t have anything at all.”

Ahearn, who teaches biology at North Andover High School, is making the masks using his four 3D printers. The printers were housed in his classroom until coronavirus concerns began to escalate.

“I figured we’d have at least a couple weeks to kind of be in isolation so I brought them home and that turned out to be a really good call,” Ahearn said.

He got the instructions for the masks from the non-profit Lowell Makes and can make two masks at once with each printer. It takes 12 hours in all to make the masks.

“I start it early in the morning when I get up and then before bed, I start it again, so in a 24-hour period I can make 16 masks,” Ahearn said.

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