3D printers in Greensburg help local hospital with supplies

Hannah Brown
Mike McBeath along with Tanner Fulton are doing their part to help local hospitals by 3D printing face shields to help combat the spread of germs and disease.

Mike McBeath of Greensburg has been making things on a 3D printer for years. He got his first printer in the summer of 2016, and that one turned into two printers, then three printers, and within a few years, McBeath owned more than 20 of them. He has printed everything from fidget spinners, to rockets, and even a 36” Saturn V launch vehicle. As the world continues to change and medical supplies become more and more needed due to the spread of COVID-19, McBeath decided to use his printers to help those in need.

“I was listening to the news and heard a story of a couple in New York using their printer farm to print face shields. I did some research and found a Facebook group dedicated to crowdsourcing designs. I reached out to Mary Sweet at the hospital and she said they were already struggling to find supplies. We started out experimenting with masks, but quickly realized it was really difficult to get a solid mask to fit every face with a tight seal. We also struggled to find good filter material. So instead we focused on the shields which are being used with the cloth masks people are also making,” said Mike.

Mike is using the Twilight Theatre to house this operation. The Twilight Theatre is currently closed until at least May 1st due to the spread of COVID-19, which is enough to put a financial strain on any small business. On top of that, the Twilight will miss out on its biggest fundraiser, the Annual Gala. People in the community can donate to help offset the cost of electricity that the printers are using by donating directly to the theatre. McBeath said they have most of the supplies to make face shields for awhile.

McBeath said the operation wouldn’t be running the way it is without Tanner Fulton. Fulton has been putting in 14-16 hours for over a week. Fulton does maintenance as needed, restarts the printers, and cleans and packaged the shields. Fulton has volunteered at the Twilight every weekend for the last year, and spends his summer mowing lawns and donated a portion of each lawn to the Twilight.

The community has been very supportive of the project thus far.

“We've had cookies, cakes, meals and other stuff all delivered to us,” said McBeath.

As the world continues to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, people in the area are bringing a little hope during trying times.