Tenth-grader Noah Kalnitz is using the skills he learned in a 3D printing class this year at the Atlanta Jewish Academy to make filament masks for medical responders and seniors dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
That’s in addition to the thriving Etsy business online he started selling 3D-printed items such as pencil holders, toys, ritual pieces for Passover and models of the microscopic image that has become synonymous with COVID-19. For every product he sells, Kalnitz plans to donate a mask to hospitals or the elderly.
Kalnitz said his mother’s friend forwarded a Facebook post that a Northside Hospital cardiologist was looking for people with 3D printers to help fill the need for the reusable N95 masks, which are in short supply with the growing pandemic. The doctor’s husband had designed and printed a mask with a heartbeat design over the filter that Kalnitz now uses as a model for the masks he creates.
“I’m just trying to help out,” he said. “It’s important to me. I want to see my community and not just my community but the whole world get better, go back to normal or how we used to be with everyone staying safe.”
So far, Kalnitz has made about seven of the masks, which he says take about six hours each. He hopes to make 10 before donating them first to the Northside Hospital doctor. He also sells them to the public through his website. For every mask he sells, Kalnitz plans to donate a mask to hospitals or the elderly.
For Passover, he also made a six-level vertical seder plate for the family table and wine cups for each of his family members, personalized with their Hebrew names, said his mother, Marcy.
“He’s getting very inventive,” she said. “I am thrilled he is finding something creative to do during this time we are all in seclusion, quarantined, using his brain and his mind for something positive. It’s great he can be an entrepreneur and give back at the same time.”
Kalnitz got a 3D printer several months ago after using the printer at his school this year.
“He became fascinated with the creative technology of 3D printing and saved his money to buy one to use at home,” reported proud grandmother Roberta Scher.
“When he realized that he could create COVID-19 masks on his printer, Noah spent hours working on masks and now intends to distribute them to medical responders, seniors and people with pre-existing medical conditions. He posted information about his masks on his Instagram @Noahs_art3d and received inquiries and orders from around the country,” Scher said.
“Noah was brought up to embrace the Jewish concept ‘tikkun olam, repair the world,’ by caring for the most vulnerable. He is reaching out to help with his unique talent and his magical 3D printer.”
In the future, Kalnitz said he plans to pursue 3D modeling as part of his career.
For now, he is part of a growing effort by those with 3D printers to fill the need for personal protective equipment, such as masks, during the health crisis, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“We recognize that the public may seek to use 3D printing to assist in meeting demand for certain products during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the FDA stated in its fact sheet about 3D printing of medical devices, accessories and components during the pandemic. “As part of our effort to protect the public to the extent possible, we are including answers to frequently asked questions for entities who 3D print devices, accessories, components, and/or parts during the COVID-19 emergency.”
For questions about 3D printing to meet product demand during the COVID-19 emergency, email COVIDManufacturing@fda.hhs.gov. For general questions, contact the Division of Industry and Consumer Education or email, DICE@fda.hhs.gov.
The FDA fact sheet on 3D printing can be found at https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/3d-printing-medical-devices/faqs-3d-printing-medical-devices-accessories-components-and-parts-during-covid-19-pandemic.
To learn more about Kalnitz’s products, visit etsy.com/shop/Noahs3dart.