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Andover Teens Use 3D Printers to Make Protective Gear for Frontline Workers

A group of Andover High School students are printing 20 face shields a day to help with a shortage of PPE

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With the coronavirus pandemic escalating, Pratheek Kuimanda, a junior at Andover High School, was searching for a way to help those in need.

So when he learned a school administrator in town was working on a project to make face shields using a 3D printer, he jumped into action.

Pratheek organized a group of five of his friends and started using any 3D printers they could get access to, producing face shields for workers at local hospitals. They have since received grants from local organizations to help them in their efforts.

When Pratheek realized it could be time consuming using smaller 3D printers to make certain parts they need, he decided to call on the community.

The community stepped up in a big way. Several Andover families offered up their small-scale industrial 3D printers to use. This has allowed the teens to ramp up production, printing about 20 face shields a day.

In total, they have already printed 250 face shields and recently dropped off 100 of them at Lawrence General Hospital. Pratheek says they plan to drop them off at other hospitals including Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston as well as nursing homes that have also reached out. 

Pratheek is an aspiring doctor himself and his grandmother also practiced medicine. He is looking to her memory as his inspiration.

“Being able time help other health care workers and people who just need help is fulfilling to me and I feel like it instills in me more motivation to carry on what she taught me," Pratheek told NBC10 Boston.

One of the teens in the group has started a T-shirt drive online to help raise money for the project. The group is hoping to keep making the face shields and has set their sights on hitting a goal of at least 500, even 1,000 in the coming weeks. 

For more information on how to help with their project you can buy a T-shirt as part of their fundraising efforts here.

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