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Ear-savers: Tennessee Boy Scout using 3D printer to make health care workers' lives a bit easier

Posted at 2:33 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 14:33:05-04

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — A Nashville-area Boy Scout is trying to help health care workers get through the day comfortably amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For more than 17 hours each day, Sam Walker sets his 3D printer to make ear-savers — plastic bands that can then be attached to the elastics on masks.

"When you put a mask on, you put it on the right loop you need, and it just takes the pressure off your ears," said Walker.

Sam is 3D printing them for people who have to wear uncomfortable masks for long periods. A fellow Boy Scount in Canada inspired him to do the same thing.

"When I found this, I realized I could do this and help out in my own way," Sam said.

After delivering the first batch, the 13-year-old couldn't believe how in-demand the ear-savers are.

"One place that we reached out to said, 'Can you make thousands?' And we said, 'Not in any time-frame that you need," he said.

It takes almost three-and-a-half hours to 3D print eight ear-savers. Despite that, Sam has patiently made dozens.

"It's really important to me because I know there is a need and I just want to do my little part for that need," he said.

So far, Sam has given masks to doctors, nurses, surgeons, pharmacists and workers at a retirement home in his area.

Sam is hopeful he becomes a local example.

"I'm just hoping to inspire people to do this because there is a large need that we can't fulfill [alone] right now," he said.

If you have a 3D printer and would like to make ear-savers for health care workers in your area, click here to see the design Sam is using to print.

This story was originally published by Hannah McDonald on WTVF in Nashville.