May 7, 2020 —Kyle Michalak has been helping Oberlin residents for years, first as a police officer, then gallery director at Firelands Association for the Visual Arts. Now he has turned his attention to helping people caring for older adults at Welcome Nursing Home and at Kendal at Oberlin, where his mother Joyce lived for nearly 20 years.
Using his 3D printer, Kyle is making personal protective equipment (PPE), both facial masks and face shields, and donating them to the two communities.
“The 3D masks can be wiped down and you can change the filters. It takes about 10 printing hours to make one mask,” explains the 69-year-old Oberlin resident. (By the way 3D printers cost about $300 and countless models of just about everything are available at Thingiverse.)
Kendal currently has enough N95 masks for staff, so they are using the 3D ones as backup.
Kyle got his 3D printer more than a year ago so he could volunteer for a global nonprofit that provides free and low-cost fingers and hands for children and adults who have lost their limbs due to war, natural disaster, illness or accidents.
Kyle’s plans with E-Nable were put on hold while he cared for his wife, who died in January, but now he is back at it. He made a hand prototype for E-Nable, was approved as a volunteer and is waiting for his first assignment.
Meanwhile, the pandemic is keeping him busy. When he heard that the Kendal staff were having trouble with some cloth face masks not fitting tight enough or too tight he created an “ear-saving” device on his 3D printer.
“A wonderful addition to the mask collection. Relieves all pressure from the ears. Kyle does amazing work,” says Shenell Hinton, Kendal’s director of Clinical Services & Nursing. Adds Kyle, “Kendal took such good care of my mom for 20 years, I’ll do anything for them.”
Read more stories on the Kendal at Oberlin blog.
In the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.