Airman 3D prints straps to help healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Forest Decker
  • 195th Wing Public Affairs

During the COVID-19 pandemic response in California, U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Matthew Meyer’s daily routine is consistent -- after a long day on Air National Guard duty, he heads straight to his garage where his 3D printer resides and produces ear savers for health care workers in his community.

“I got the idea from a 3D printing community online,” Meyer said. “And soon got my hands on open-source plans for the ‘ear saver.”

When not activated as the noncommissioned officer in charge for intelligence with the California National Guard’s Joint Task Force 115, the task force established to spearhead the Cal Guard’s COVID-19 response, Meyers serves as the 1st Sgt. for the 195th Wing’s 149th Intelligence Squadron at Mather Airfield in Mather, California.

“I saw this on the internet and thought I can do this to help out and provide support,” he added.

Meyer supports his community through his personal 3D printing capability, making 12 ear savers per batch. Each batch takes about two hours to produce the product and involves a break between prints to prepare the surface for the next set.

“The support ear savers allow you to wear the mask more comfortably for longer periods of time,” said Meyer. “The ear saver keeps the band away from the ears relieving the pressure from the rubber strap that loops around the ears that holds the mask on.”

So far, Meyer has printed more than 200 ear savers and face shield parts to support demand from health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I got a massive response asking for face masks and basically ear relievers for masks that nurses wear," said Meyer. “I’m printing these for hospitals, retirement homes, health professionals and military members supporting the federal activation in the Elk Grove community.”

As long as Meyer has the materials available, the plan is to keep printing until the need is filled.

“It’s nice to be able to help out my community when I can,” said Meyer. “Find a need, fill a need.”