As a teenager during the COVID-19 pandemic, with school online and activities cancelled, finding the motivation to be productive can be a serious challenge. For Samuel Knudson, a fourteen-year-old eighth grader from Easton, California, motivation comes in the form of a 3D printer and a desire to make a difference.
Samuel spent much of the last year using his 3D printer to create figurines for tabletop gaming, dice, and even a full set of chess pieces, but when his father, Adam Knudson, came to him with photographs of 3D printed mask clips that other people were printing across the country, he quickly looked up the design code and got to work printing his first batch of clips.
The mask clip is worn around the back of the head and allows wearers to adjust the tension of their face mask while taking the pressure off of their ears.
“My dad came into my room and said ‘Hey, I found this cool thing. We should make some of these to help health care workers,'” Samuel says. “I thought it was a great idea and it would let me fight COVID-19, in a sense.”
He gave his first set of mask clips to one of his cousins, who’s a nurse, and after receiving positive feedback, he and his father started to look for avenues to share his creations with more health care workers.
“We were surprised to see so much interest in the clips, because in the 3D printing world, it seemed like a lot of people were already making them,” Adam says. “After we talked to Saint Agnes, they told us that staff were excited and asked to start with 50 clips.”
Samuel jumped out of his chair and ran over to the printer to warm it up as soon as the order came in. It takes almost three hours to complete a set of five clips, which means Samuel sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night to switch the set over and keep the production going.
So far, Samuel has made about 100 mask clips for health care workers in the Central Valley and has no plans of stopping.
“We’ll just keep printing them until we don’t need to anymore,” Samuel says. “Or until we run out of filament to make them.”
The nurses and clinical staff are grateful for the new addition to their mask-wearing routine. “Now, I won’t have pressure sores from wearing masks all day,” Rita Jandu, RN, says.
Her colleague Julie Binford, RN, echoes this praise, after finding that wearing a mask all day had become a lot more comfortable thanks to the blue clips.
Samuel was excited to realize that an activity he considers fun can actually help people and make a difference in keeping health care workers safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been hard figuring out what to do with myself with everything cancelled, but making the clips has given me something to do and lets me help, too,” Samuel says.
When so many things are out of our control during this pandemic, hearing Miracle Moments like this are certainly a breath of fresh air. Thank you, Samuel, for your generous spirit and for joining all of us at Saint Agnes as we take on COVID-19 – TOGETHER.
Do you have a Miracle Moment to share? If so, we want to hear about it. Send your story and any photos taken to COVIDInfo@samc.com.