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Cal Poly student has unique way of making masks for local frontliners

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Posted at 6:50 AM, Apr 13, 2020

A student from Cal Poly is making masks for local healthcare workers by using a 3D printer.

Materials and Manufacturing Engineering major Cristian Sion has been working with an emergency room physician and a facilities engineer at the SLO Surgery Center to make N95 style respirators.

Sion has been using the 3D printer to make the masks in his garage.

After several months of designing prototypes the team created respirators that Sion says are more effective than most non-surgical masks sold in stores.

"We looked at different designs in the community and combined a bunch of different aspects into one mask so hopefully this one will do the job much better than what's out there in the market right now," says Sion.

Sion hopes to make them available to the general public in the future, but for now he says he is focusing on distributing to healthcare workers and first responders.

"We don't need them here yet, which is good. It means we're actually flattening our curve like what we've been trying to do and we haven't overwhelmed our healthcare system or burned through more PPE than we have, which is wonderful, but we don't know if that's going to change so we're printing out backups and we're ready for the worst but also helping other people in other communities," says Dr. Clint Slaughter.

The team says healthcare workers from New York and San Diego have reached out to them for masks.