Finding the Helpers: Spokane high schooler uses 3D printer to create face shields for healthcare workers

SPOKANE, Wash. — Instead of spending his weekend watching T.V., Connor Duncan spent it watching his 3D printer go to work.

“I know that there’s a national shortage of the personal protective equipment, so I wanted to protect them with these masks,” he said. “It’s something that was just a hobby and now it can be applied toward other things.”

Connor, a sophomore at North Central High School and aspiring orthopedic surgeon, decided to combine his love for math, science and his 3D printer to create protective face shields for healthcare workers facing a shortage of medical equipment as the coronavirus spreads across the country. That includes his mom Christina, who is a nurse practitioner with DispatchHealth.

“He said, ‘mom, I found this really awesome YouTube video on printing 3D face shields off my printer’ and I was like, ‘What?! Really?,” she said.

Once Connor watched the how-to video, he found a 3D file online to send to his printer. From there, he printed off a laminated sheet, hole-punched it, then attached it to the printed plastic. Every mask of Connor’s takes about two hours to make and so far, he has made nine. Connor told 4 News Now he is hoping to eventually make 2o for his mom’s team.

“We are really putting ourselves out there,” said Christina. “When we go see patients right now, we are fully gloved and masked and we have eye protection and for any respiratory complaints, we are wearing gowns and shoe protectors, we have face shields.”

Christina said her patients otherwise might not get seen, because hospitals are reaching capacity and they may not want to risk contracting the virus. She told 4 News Now she has not been asked to start testing for COVID-19 yet, but she would not be surprised if that were the case down the road.

“I’ve tried to teach my kids that, you know, always try to help others no matter what is going on,” she said. “So, I’m really super proud of him.”