Cherry (10) printing 3D face mask ‘ear savers’

By Hayden Moore

PEOPLE are getting increasingly more creative as each day passes during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, with a local 10-year-old using a 3D Printer to create face mask clips, or “ear savers”, for frontline workers.

Healthcare workers wearing personal protective equipment have been fighting the pandemic on the frontline with their face masks, which tighten around their ears, causing some discomfort.

Cherry OBrien 3D prints ear savers for frontline staff compressor

Cherry O'Brien 3D prints ear savers for frontline staff

10-year-old Cherry O’Brien from Clondalkin has been flat out this week putting her 3D Printer to the test as she prints off plastic connector clips designed to relieve pressure on wearer’s ears.

Instead of the elastic bands of the face masks fastening around the ears, they loop around the clips – which have multiple adjustment sizes and are made of biodegradable plastics.

“We’re printing them for the round the ear masks to make them a little bit easier to wear,” Cherry’s mam Stephanie told The Echo.

“We’ve a 3D Printer that Santa brought for Christmas and it comes with an app for your iPad.

“The company [who manufacture the 3D Printer] send through updates every now and then for the printer.

“With everything going on they brought out this update for it and [Cherry] thought it would be a great idea.”

Cherry is at home with her two sisters Lola and Poppy following the closure of her school Gaelscoil na Camóige due to Covid-19, and she is doing her part to support her dad Darren who is currently working in The Mater Hospital.

“She only finished printing at one o’clock this morning, she did a 12-hour shift printing [on Tuesday] – like the nurses,” explains Stephanie.

“It takes five-minutes to print each clip and it was only when we added it up, taking into account eating time and other bits, that she had actually done a full 12-hours. It just worked out like that.

“We’re going to send in 100 face mask clips on Thursday and we want to have them all packaged up by Wednesday night.”

Cherry’s dad Darren, whose company is overseeing the build of a new Intensive Care Unit in The Mater, is delivering a box full of “ear savers” to the The Mater Foundation on Thursday.

Although they have already made a triumphant effort to print 100 face masks clips for frontline staff in The Mater Hospital in Phibsboro, Cherry and her mam are open to expanding their home operation.

“I did put it up on Facebook asking if anybody would like us to print clips for their hospitals because I’ve a few friends on Facebook who work at hospitals,” says Stephanie.

“We’d happily print some off for anybody else to help brighten up their day with a colourful clip for their face masks during their long shifts.”

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