WACO, Texas – Baylor University Libraries are doing their part to help those on the frontlines of the pandemic.

They are using 3-D printer technology to create a useful tool for healthcare professionals in Central Texas.

It takes about 20 minutes to make one of the surgical mask tension-relief bands, but just one goes a long way – helping ease the pain of wearing uncomfortable face masks for first responders.

Instead of having the 3-D printing machines sit in an empty room with the lights off at Baylor’s closed campus, Andrew Telep decided to put them to good use.

“In went the 3-D printers to the back of my car, and we set up our Easter dining room table with 3-D printers, a pop-up makers space,” says Telep.

Telep is the Assistant Director of Experiential Learning Commons at Baylor Libraries. He and his family are making the tension-relief bands for those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Healthcare workers are wearing surgical masks for more hours in the day than they’ve ever have, maybe, and a surgical mask holds on to the back of the earlobe and apparently they get really uncomfortable. And so this clip is a supplement to that, goes on the back of the head, and then you put the elastic on these holders instead of on the ears and apparently it makes a tremendous difference in terms of comfort,” says Telep.

They have been printing non-stop for over a week now, and have created 900 so far.

“I found one that was clinically tested by the National Institute of Health and recommended by them, so it was a matter of downloading that model, placing it in the tool that prepares it for the 3-D printer, kick off that job and repeat,” said Telep.

550 have been distributed to the Family Health Center in Waco, 300 to Baylor Scott & White and 50 to Hillcrest.

“They are doing such great work, and the feedback that we are getting on these little mask clips is tremendous. So I’m happy that the libraries, Baylor Libraries are able to help do something that they find meaningful to encourage them in the midst of their great work,” said Telep.

If you have a 3-D printer at home and would like to join the effort in creating the bands, you can click HERE for a model.