Turning to 3D printing in support of health professionals

April 3, 2020

As doctors, nurses and medical staff encounter personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages while dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Enbridge employees in North Dakota have found an innovative way to help the community.

Jeremy and Zach, who work in Enbridge’s Liquids Pipelines group in North Dakota, have turned to technology to 3D print masks (and face shields, which can be used to cover normal paper medical masks).

“Zach’s wife Amanda found an article about a clinic in Billings, Montana who had come up with the designs to meet the appropriate safety standards,” says Jeremy. “Things took off from there; Amanda created a Facebook group on March 25, and we're up to 257 members already. In the last week, thanks to 15 community members using their various printers, we’ve been able to create and collect 106 masks, which will start going to the Trinity Health hospital in Minot.”

The work of the group has gained local media attention—and increased interest from others in the community looking to get involved.

“Since this came out on the news, it’s taken on a bit of a life of its own. We got the local public schools to allow us to use their printers and a member in the group now has six printers in his garage—all within just over a week,” says Jeremy.

“We have new people—new friends we’ve made through this group—reach out, nearly daily, offering to their time and their resources. I even have a junior at the local high school who is now helping to cut plastic sheets for the face shield,” he notes, adding: “It feels great to be able to be helpful at a time like this.”