New Jerseyans are stepping up to help protect those on the front lines

Michael Franchino has turned Maker Depot Academy into a 3D printing mask making center. The office space that normally is used for STEM education is now focused on using their resources to manufacture these one-time use face shields.

“We’re concentrating on a face shield that covers the face. Again, this is like the last resort type of a thing, but it does prevent splatter for the doctors and so forth. The government and hospital system is using it, and the CDC has said ‘we need them,'” Franchino said. “The other part is laser cutting the actual clear plastic, which is what we are doing here, and we are 3D printing them, but a 3D print takes two and a half hours for one mask.”

He says the face shields are made and funded by volunteers. $25 can produce about 30 face shields, which is why he is now asking for the public’s help.

“This roll here of plastic will be gone today by 5. There’s 120 masks in this roll, so that’s why we are reaching out to the community for support. I need people, I need plastic, I need funds to continue this effort,” he said.

In Colonia, Perth Amboy Teacher Tonimarie Radmoski says she didn’t think twice about using her talents to help protect those on the frontlines. She is now making homemade sewn masks. While the health commissioner has said the masks are not considered medical grade, Radmoski says she hopes the machine washable masks can be used as a barrier for masks approved by the CDC.

“I leave them on the porch, people come grab them. The girls who’s husband is coming to pick them up today, because she’s actually working, she’s at Robert Wood Johnson. There’s another nurse from Mount Sinai. I’m working on a batch today to hopefully go out by the end of the night for an urgent care in Clark. They are using them as protection over the N95 masks so that they can get more use out of them,” she said. “I made about 75, I wish it was more, but it’s really hard to mass produce. I make about 25 a day. It was really hard finding the materials, so that took a couple days to gather everything I needed, wash all my fabric, get everything ready so it’s clean and get started. It’s my hobby, my passion. I love to sew, so if that can bring any type of help and protection to other people that’s what I’d like to do,” Radmoski said.