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COVID-19: Motorcycle Shop Designs Reusable Respiratory Masks For Frontline Workers

Matt Mendez with the printer. Photo Credit: LI Racing
A clinic worker testing out the design. Photo Credit: LI Racing

A Long Island motorcycle shop owner and his co-worker have designed a reusable respiratory mask for nurses, doctors and first responders on a 3-D printer that is being copied across the world.

Matt Mendez, the owner of the LI Racing in Brentwood, and Christian Price, who works at the shop, have been hard at work using the 3-D resin printer they purchased to manufacture parts to create the masks during their forced downtime.

"All of these people are focusing on making masks but we wanted to come up with a solid design that could be used in a professional setting such as a hospital and be reused instead of tossing them away at the end of the day," said Mendez.

After hours and days and work, the duo came up with the design that works -- although they are still perfecting the design -- and posted in on their website.

Since the posting, the design has been used around the world from people who have printers in their homes to professional manufacturers from Italy, the United Kingdom, Arizona, Utah, and other spots around the globe.

"It's amazing really," said Price.

Because the products, mostly the special resin which costs some $400 a bottle, are so expensive, they have started a GoFundMe effort raise money to keep perfecting the design and making the masks that are currently being reviewed for use by Northwell Hospitals.

Part of the printing process.

LI Racing

"We have had meetings with everyone from town supervisors and doctors to hospital directors regarding the masks," Mendez said.

In essence, the mask design was created on a computer using software that transfers to the resin SLA-type printer which then produces the design. To date, they have about six or seven revised designs.

A protype of the mask.

LI Racing

Mendez said they want to develop a product that will be used after the current pandemic is passed and one that is not wasteful such as a cloth mask.

To date, they have received about $6,000 on the GoFundMe of a $50,000 goal due to the expense of the materials.

"Our hope is to be able to get these masks out locally to help those in need and with an eye to the future," Mendez said. "We also wanted to share it with others so they could do the same in their communities."

To visit the company website and check-out the process visit liracing.org . To donate to the project, visit GoFundMe here.

To contact the company, call 631-885-8008.

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