Virginia 13-Year-Old Is Making 3D-Printed Masks At Home To Help Fight Coronavirus

Written by Ann Brown
A Virginia 13-year-old is making 3D-printed masks at home to help fight coronavirus and help those most susceptible to the virus. Photo: abc7/WJLA

Thirteen-year-old Charles Randolph, of Falls Church, Virginia, saw the news about the need for masks to help fight coronavirus and used his 3D printer to create face masks from home.

What concerns him most, Charles said, are the people who are most susceptible to COVID-19.  

“I saw in the news that high-risk patients (are) people with existing diseases like heart problems and asthma,” Charles told local TV station WJLA.

Charles told the station he was worried about his great-uncle in Atlanta who needs a heart transplant, and others like him who could use a mask.

So he found a mask from a public domain website and started printing them. He learned how to use the printer after his father enrolled him in enrichment classes.

“You use a slicer which takes the product that you got off (the website) Thingiverse and it turns it into code that the 3D printer can read,” he said.

“It takes him about 90 minutes and costs him about a dollar to make a single mask,” The New York Post reported. 

Charles said he wanted to make more so he can donate them.

His mother, a culinary arts and sciences instructor, tweeted how proud she was of her son and the tweet went viral.

Renee Randolph tweeted: “My mini-me spent his day using a 3D printer to make a medical mask for his high-risk uncle who is at home waiting for a heart transplant and he is printing more to donate. He makes my heart smile every day!”

Illya E. Davis, a Morehouse College professor and director of new students and the College Pre-Freshman Summer Enrichment Program tweeted back: “EXCELLENT. I hope to see him at Morehouse College after high school.”

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While Charles realizes the masks probably wouldn’t be sufficient for doctors and nurses, they could help people who are most vulnerable.

He told WJLA, “It may not be 100 percent of a filtration system but it works.

“This is the first real, useful thing that I’ve made,” he said. “I feel pretty good. I’m pretty quiet, chill. Yeah, I feel pretty good about this.”