From left, Shelby Cowin, Isabelle Jandreau and Cole Jandreau show off some of the face shields that were printed using 3D printers. Credit: Gina Jandreau

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MADAWASKA, Maine — A few people in Madawaska are helping the local workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic feel a little safer with face mask holders and face shields produced on 3D printers.

Madawaska native Jason Boucher, who works at Twin Rivers Paper Company and is a local firefighter, was scrolling through Facebook when he started to notice a pattern.

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“I saw posts on Facebook about a template that was available online that holds the masks off the person’s ears because so many health care professionals were complaining about ear pain,” Boucher said.

The mask holders — made using a 3D printer — hold the straps of the mask on the back of the person’s head instead of resting the straps on the ears, Boucher said. He downloaded the file for the simple design and got to work printing off the mask holders.

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“Once I started, I haven’t stopped,” Boucher said.

As of Tuesday, Boucher had printed 275 mask holders, which he has provided for free to health care workers, law enforcement personnel and first responders.

But he’s not the only one.

Gina Jandreau, a teacher for the Madawaska School Department, received an email March 30 with instructions on how to make face shields using a 3D printer. Jandreau also was the leader of the fifth grade all-girl student engineers group that had made 3D printed soap screens for a local soap-making business owner earlier this spring.

Dave Perloff — who according to Jandreau has bought hundreds of 3D printers for schools in Maine through the Perloff Family Foundation — emailed a slideshow and the files needed for the 3D printer to make the headbands for the face shields.

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The hospital and the school donated the transparencies used for the clear shields that were attached to the headbands.

Jandreau said that shortly after receiving Perloff’s email, she received a call from Kelley Daigle at High View Manor who was looking for personal protective equipment and wondered if Jandreau could print face shields.

“What great timing,” Jandreau said.

She made some shields for High View Manor as well as for Country Village Estates before Northern Maine Medical Center requested some as well.

Between Jandreau’s two printers and Madawaska science teacher Shanna Lagasse’s two printers, the pair were able to keep up with the orders.

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“We keep printing as facilities ask for these items,” Jandreau said. “I figure since we are able to help, we should.”

As of Tuesday, Lagasse and Jandreau have delivered 120 face shields and more than 200 face mask holders.

“Those people working directly with patients are the real heroes,” Jandreau said. “We need to support them however we can.”

Boucher set up a GoFundMe to help the local printers order more supplies to make the face mask holders and face shields.

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