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Incoming York College student uses 3D printer to make equipment for hospital

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Colin Evans, 18, of Hampstead, Maryland, has used a 3D printer to produce over 130 ear savers and mask filter caps for Carroll Hospital for medical providers who work there. Credit: Leigh Ann Evans

An incoming York College freshman took matters into his own hands after he found out the hospital his mother works at was short on COVID-19 medical supplies.

Colin Evans, 18, of Hampstead, Maryland, has used a 3D printer to produce more than 130 ear savers and mask filter caps for Carroll Hospital for medical providers who work there. 

"One day (my mother) came home from work and talked about how parts were limited. I did some digging online and found the parts they needed, and I printed them," Evans said. "They were elated." 

Evans, who is planning to study mechanical engineering at York College, said he first got interested in 3D printing after he attended an engineering seminar at the Carroll County Career and Tech Center last year. 

Colin Evans, 18, of Hampstead, Maryland, has used a 3D printer to produce over 130 ear savers and mask filter caps for Carroll Hospital for medical providers who work there. Credit: Leigh Ann Evans

Then, his parents got him his  own 3D printer for Christmas in December.

"I can make whatever I want, whenever I want," Evans said. "It's very accessible." 

Evans, who will be starting at York College on Thursday, said he's excited to further learn about how he can apply 3D printing to his major. 

While his classes will be a hybrid of online and in-person, Evans said he will remain on campus.

"York just felt like home to me," Evans said. "York has a strong engineering program that I wanted to be part of. It checked off a lot of the boxes that other schools didn't."

Evans said while he hasn't yet connected with any York College professors or applied for any classes that incorporate 3D printing, his college career is only just starting and it's something he wants to look into further once arriving on campus. 

His mother, Leigh Ann Evans, is a respiratory therapist and treats COVID-19 patients at the hospital. Medical supplies have been in high demand since the pandemic hit in March.

"When the hospital needed them, they would come to me for more parts," Evans said.

Ear savers are often used by doctors, nurses and medical providers who are required to wear face masks for prolonged periods of time. The device goes behind the person's head and has small hooks on it for the elastic bands of a face mask to wrap around, taking pressure off the ears.

Colin Evans, 18, of Hampstead, Maryland, has used a 3D printer to produce over 130 ear savers and mask filter caps for Carroll Hospital for medical providers who work there. Credit: Leigh Ann Evans

Evans also produced mask filter caps, which are fastened to the end of N95 masks used in hospitals.

He also made a variety of caps to fit firefighter masks, which hospital staff have also used in place of a traditional face mask. Evans designed the caps for firefighter masks himself since he was unable to find design files online.

Though he's uncertain how he wants to apply his education in a professional setting, Evans said he's interested in cars and might want to pursue something in the automotive field. 

Evans said he's also considering a route where he can continue designing and printing medical parts. 

"Printing is a great benefit to the world of engineering," Evans said. "The possibilities for 3D printing are endless, and I look forward to seeing where it goes in the future."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.