Hobbs makes 3D-printed medical masks to help local hospitals

As demands for hospital masks rise, people all over the nation are trying to fill in the gaps for hospitals and local organizations. Students have the opportunity to make masks as a community service project, but one teacher has been proactive in the aid to a local hospital. Ms. Marsha Hobbs, a physics, engineering, and coding teacher at Jackson Prep, has been making masks to help the fight against the pandemic. With the help of Prep’s 3D printers, she has been able to supply masks for University of Mississippi Medical Center. Ms. Hobbs has made about 12-15 masks so far, and she hopes that many more can be produced in upcoming weeks. 

Shown above is Doug Boone, who works at Methodist Rehab, wearing one of Ms. Hobbs’ 3D printed masks. Photo courtesy of Crisler Boone

The school’s Fab Lab, managed by Ms. Hobbs, has two 3D printers, which allow her to print out the masks relatively quickly. The newer model can print a mask in about 2 and a half or three hours, while the older one can make a mask in about 5 hours. The style of mask that is being printed is called the Montana Mask.  

Ms. Hobbs’ inspiration for the project came from the local need for masks as case numbers rose. She prints the parts of the mask, and she then gives them to Ms. Kelly Headley, who is in charge of the community service department at Jackson Prep. This allows students to get involved in the important process of helping out the local hospitals in this historic time. Ms. Hobbs was pleased that UMMC asked Prep to produce these masks since Prep has the resources to help in this pandemic.

Ms. Headley assembled the masks at home with help from some other Prep families. Ms. Headley sanded down part of the masks to make them less abrasive, and then cleaned the elastic pieces of the masks that were also provided by Ms. Hobbs. The front part of the mask was made using cut-up pieces of medical grade masks to fill the front gasket. Gauze can also be used in this position as well. This has provided a great opportunity for students to participate in community service during this time of social distancing.

Ms. Headley stated that “Jackson Prep is always ready and willing to step up and step in to the community to help where needed. It was no surprise we had the talent, Ms. Hobbs, and the resources to make these masks that are desperately needed by our local hospitals right now.”

Ms. Chrisler Boone is the Chief External Affairs Officer at Prep. Her husband works at Methodist Rehab, and they are hoping the Jackson Prep’s 3D printer can produce many more masks to use in this pandemic. He is even using one of the masks that was produced by Ms. Hobbs.

Another future project for Ms. Hobbs is the possibility of 3D printing ventilator parts for UMMC, which can be extremely helpful to the hospital. This is only one area that Prep can serve. As new needs arise, Prep and other organizations can help fill in any shortages that hospitals have in this time. Prep’s resources can be utilized during this pandemic, and the assembling of masks is only one way that Prep can help the community.