From Legos to Facemasks
Terp Uses 3D Printer to Fuel New Charity
A 3D printer that used to churn out homemade Lego alternatives for a Terp’s family has inspired the creation of a volunteer group that has donated more than 10,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical professionals.
Hobie Cohen ’04, MBA ’16, who works as a systems/software engineer for Lockheed Martin, bought the printer a few years ago for fun, but as COVID-19 laid bare the scarcity of safety supplies for doctors and nurses in the spring he realized it could be put to better use. Along with his wife, Alicia, he researched open source plans for face shields and cold-called Holy Cross Health since their daughter had been born in its Germantown hospital—getting a request for 2,650 in response.
“It really blew us away,” Cohen said.
The Cohens created DMV Fighting COVID, a coalition of two dozen people making PPE and tracking down where it can be sent, from Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. A GoFundMe for the effort has raised nearly $14,000, and Cohen said Montgomery County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is going to help with distributing the PPE as well.
“I love that this is a community effort. There’s still a need for folks like us,” Cohen said. “We’ll do it as long as it’s useful.”