We have all heard of 3-D printing—the incredible process of building a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design model. Another well-known fact, unfortunately, is the shortage of face masks during this unprecedented global pandemic for those frontline workers as instructed by health officials to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Scott Smith, Director, Field Engineering, pieced this urgent need and invention together when he decided to utilize his large-format 3-D printer to produce masks for those who need it most.
“I know I have the ability to help people, even if that help is minimal. Having someone out there in your community who cares about their neighbors and is doing something to help, gives us a reason to know this is only temporary and that we’re all in this together,” he said.
From Idea to Life-Saving Product
Scott explains that the idea began after a call from his dad, a retired trucking executive who asked if he was planning to use his personal 3-D printer to produce face masks.
As an engineer at heart, Scott decided to conduct his own research with several reputable experts, including utilizing www.makethemasks.com. He wondered, “Could it be done safely, and would people actually want a face mask created from my home 3-D printer?”
After ensuring the proper equipment and supplies, Scott posted on a few local social media channels offering his no cost plant-based face masks for those who needed it.
And Then Came the Response…
The response from people was overwhelming—with nearly 550 requests—in just a few short days. “People are just glad that everyone is pulling together regardless of everything happening to help each other out,” he adds. Each plant-based mask kit is given to the individual in a sealed plastic bag with instructions and proper disclaimer.
Scott also touches on the importance of this effort, not just as a member of his local community, but as a Panasonic Avionics employee by saying, “Our Seven Principles play a major role in how we help our community, but our first principle is Contribution to Society, and we all must take this very seriously to ensure one another’s safety and future health.”
He continues, “We have a rare opportunity to assist everyone in unique and inspiring ways. We can’t sit idle and be held hostage to this situation. We can turn this hugely negative situation into a positive one by contributing our own individual way of helping one another. Each of us has the power to do something and learn more about others around us to bring us closer together in this time of great need.”
Globally, Panasonic has a long history of being a purpose-driven company that acts as a responsible partner in the communities it operates. Panasonic Avionics Corporate Social Responsibility Committee is proud to lend support for critical face mask supply needs.
While Scott puts in his usual more than full-time efforts to support Panasonic Avionics field engineers, his 3-D printer also remains hard at work. To date, Scott has produced 225 masks and he plans to invest in another printer when additional funds become available.
“We have a rare opportunity to assist everyone in unique and inspiring ways. We can’t sit idle and be held hostage to this situation. We can turn this hugely negative situation into a positive one by contributing our own individual way of helping one another. Each of us has the power to do something and learn more about others around us to bring us closer together in this time of great need.”Scott Smith, Director, Field Engineering at Panasonic Avionics.
In looking to now and in the future, Scott shares some final words of inspiration: “Anytime we are presented with an obstacle, we come together to work towards not only bettering ourselves but our entire workforce. We should embrace our final principle of Gratitude and be grateful to one another as we come together to battle this situation with empowered enthusiasm towards the future.”
To view Scott’s hard-working 3D printer live visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4slzgUgyeJc.