Metro Detroit teen uses 3D printer to solve problem with wearing masks long-term

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – It’s common to see people wearing face masks, but there’s a hidden irritant -- right behind the ears. Many essential workers who have to wear the masks for endless hours get an earache because of the rubbing of the elastic.

Foster Caragay, 17, is an Avondale High School senior who has moved beyond what happens next in his education and is micro-focused on what happens next in his immediate community.

Caragay owns several 3D printers and got a notice from his manufacturer on how he could help amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The manufacturer reached out to everyone who purchased a machine from them to donate them.

Instead of deciding he couldn’t help -- he figured out where he could. He heard complaints on the elastic around the ears being irritating.

So with his 3D printers in his basement and his immediate family as his crew, he set to work to make protective masks more comfortable.

Now, instead of having the elastic of the mask sitting on your ear, it rests on a little nub.

“I’ve been making 250 a day,” he said. “Trying to get as many as I can out the door.”

He said his family is donating them at no cost. He gives handfuls to the doctors and nurses he knows but said any first responder, health care working, delivery person or grocery store worker is his top priority.

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