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Be the Helpers

There’s a quote that has been running through my mind lately from Mr. Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘ Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ ”

There are many people who want to help with the present situation, but other than staying home and social distancing, it’s hard to feel like you’re making an impact. However, I recently came across a few different projects that would allow those in the AEC industry to make a difference that I wanted to share. This is a chance for you to literally #MakeItHappen. Please help if you can!


3-D Printing

While 3-D printers can be useful for helping clients visualize a project’s appearance, they have an even greater function right now. All over the country, thousands of people with access to 3-D printers have been assisting healthcare professionals by printing items that are in short supply. If your office has access to 3-D printers, please help the effort!

What you can print:

  1. Face Masks and Face Shields – local maker LowellMakes is currently working directly with hospitals in the greater Boston area to provide face masks (pictured above) and face shields in light of the N95 shortage. These can go over the N95 masks to help prolong their life and can be distributed to those who are at less risk, such as those in waiting rooms or administration. LowellMakes is asking anyone with access to 3-D printers and PLA or PETG filament to help them in printing the parts for both face masks and face shields. LowellMakes will accept printed parts dropped off to their facility and will assemble masks with seals and filters, sanitize them, and drop off to hospitals in need. Please see their website for more information on the models they are printing for face masks and face shields.
  2. Adapters to turn full-face snorkel masks into respirator masks – is working with various hospitals including Brigham & Women’s, Beth Israel Lahey, Mass General, New York-Presbyterian, and Tufts Medical Center in addition to universities including Harvard, MIT, and Yale to develop the adapters to fit breathing filters already in use at hospitals. Their clinicians, engineers, and manufacturers have conducted rigorous quality tests and have already been field-testing in seven hospitals.  MasksOn are also looking for volunteers who can help with a variety of tasks from project management, CAD, and 3-D printing. To volunteer to help, click here.
  3. Test SwabsFormlabs is working with Northwell Health and USF Health and are ramping up production to begin printing up to 150,000 swabs per day to test for COVID-19. They’ve passed swab designs through a variety of tests at USF Heath and have received an Emergency IRD approval. If you have a Formlabs printer and are willing to help, you can sign up here.




If you own a sewing machine, you can help the 100 Million Mask Challenge. My friend Kim has been making numerous masks daily and donating them to providers in need. Although she’s located in Canada, she’s been shipping them all over the US as requested! You too can make masks for yourself, your family/friends, and to donate to medical professionals in need of fabric masks. These masks are often placed over N95 masks to prolong their life or used to help free up surgical masks for those who need them. Designs for cloth masks (pictured above) can be found here and you can learn how to sew a surgical mask from a JOANN Fabric tutorial here . JOANN stores are also serving as drop-off locations for those sewing masks; they work directly with hospitals and drop off masks for those in need. The CDC also recommends creating your own homemade masks to optimize the supply of medical-grade masks for medical professionals in need.


Finally, if you’re not crafty or don’t have access to a 3-D printer or sewing machine, you can still donate!

  1. N95 Masks – if you have N95 masks from construction sites, please consider donating them to hospitals in need.
  2. Gloves – If you have protective gloves at your office or home, please consider donating them to hospitals in need.
  3. Monetary Donations LowellMakes and also accept monetary donations for materials.

Show us how you or your firm are helping! Tag SMPS Boston in your social media with #makeithappen and #SMPSBosHelpsCOVID19.


Kristie Norris is a Proposal Manager who enjoys theatre as a both a performer and audience member, horseback riding, and occasionally lifting kettlebells. She is a contributor for the Favorite Five blog series and a member of the Communications and Professional Development Committees.

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