Pandemic Smoked Meats and Printing “Ear Savers” for the all peoples

posted in: 3D Printing, DIY Geek Things | 0

With the pandemic proceeding across the country its been an interesting and dramatic change for everyone, time has not made it any easier. So I am filling my time trying to give back to the community and doing something stimulating and engaging. This has included smoking meats and sharing then with unemployed service industry friends, and making huge amounts of 3D printed ear savers.

My Yoder smoker has been running more in the last 4 weeks than it has in the last year smoking meats. We’ve smoked 40# of pork, and 20# of brisket so far in the pandemic.

Ear Savers for the community:

Since the last posts about 3D printing I have been producing ear savers for masks that the medical community and the general public are wearing like the below:

I saw these as something I could print fast, and the community could use them as the mandates have come out that everyone wear masks when in public. So I talked to a local book store that has a small “Little Library” in the front for supplies for the pandemic and other things.

So I posted the ad on our local Nextdoor and printed up initially 200 of the straps while trying to refine the print process.

I ran into some brutal print issues trying to fire up the duplication printing on the printer. Turns out Simplofy3D had a corrupt profile I was using that caused under extrusion to an extreme level. This caused 5 days of fighting and only printing with one print head while I was trying to figure this out.

It did generate a lot of waste doing trial and error. In the end a fresh profile configured from scratch got this working. The orange Inland PETG was kind of a pain compared to the MatterHackers Pro PETG in black, but it did turn out well in the end.

After exhausting the first two rolls of PETG (and getting to within 6″ of the end of the orange PETG roll) I had produced close to 400 of the ear savers, shipped them to 2 states, and distributed the rest in the area via the book store.

I immediately ordered two more rolls of PETG with some generous donations from friends and family to produce another 600 or so ear savers. At the end of the second rolls, I will have printed close to 1200 bits of PPE or PPE accessories for COVID relief.

Other Print Projects

After getting the production rolling on the ear savers, my wife was doing a few projects around the house including making masks for family and friends where she needed a bias tape tool to make the straps easier. With some quick downloads from Thingiverse, I was able to turn out a set of them for her and one of our friends.

Here is a time-lapse of switching between printing the bias tape tools and ear savers

We are also doing some home improvement projects and I designed/printed some PETG cases for paint brushes that once I get some foam for the handle area will keep paint on the brush wet overnight. (I’ll post them to thing verse once I make sure they work as good as we wanted)

Below is the bias tape tool in action and the setup that my wife setup to fold, iron, and pull through large quantities of the straps in one move.

It’s been a real maker atmosphere in the house the last couple weeks!

Up Next

I generally don’t break up posts ( just say what you need to right?) but I have a whole post coming about how running a 3D printer for 4 -5 weeks almost non stop printing thousand + items has some wear and tear… and now the printer is broken waiting for some new wire.

Also… I just purchased a K40 laser engraver/cutter that is going to be an upcoming adventure! Nothing like a $300 40W CO2 laser engraver to make some things good and dangerous 🙂

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