TAMPA, Fla. - If you've been wearing a mask regularly, you know how uncomfortable some of them can be, especially if you wear them for long periods of time.
But Tim Hileman, who usually fixes drones, is trying to make sure masks fit properly and comfortably and he's doing it right from his garage workshop.
"Recently, I got an idea from a friend of mine whose a nurse and she informed me about an issue they’re having with chafing behind your ears due to wearing the surgical mask straps with everything going on with COVID-19," said Hileman, owner of Fix 'n Fly Drones.
Hileman, who has a background in mechanical engineering, put his 3-D printer right to work.
"This printer’s been running non-stop, 20 hours a day," said Hileman.
"You draw it on the computer, put it into a software that the 3D printer can talk to and then it prints it out in layers."
What Hileman is printing out is helping solve a problem.
"Mask straps that take the strap from the mask off your ear onto a strap that you can choose which tightness you want," said Hileman.
"It just alleviates the pulling motion on your ears all day long."
Staff at Cantebury Tower, a retirement community in Tampa, is looking forward to that relief.
"We need it for our nurses and all our staff, they were getting chafing behind the ears and some headaches," said Linda O’Leary who was picking up an order for Cantebury Tower.
Hileman has made more than 1,000 so far.
"The biggest demand is coming from hospitals where’s there’s nurses," he said.
Requests are also coming from restaurants and grocery stores.
"I’ve already looked at buying a couple extra printers to keep up with the demand," said Hileman.
"I’m just gonna do the best I can."
Hileman is doing his best and wanting to do more.
"What else can we make now, other than this, that's gonna be helpful in times like this?"
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