Pratheek Kuimanda, 18, of Andover, Massachusetts, a senior at Andover High School, formed a team of friends to produce more than 2,200 face shields using 3D printers, and delivered them to healthcare facilities and nursing homes in several states and Puerto Rico. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, Pratheek saw a video of a nurse crying because a shortage of protective equipment at her hospital had forced her to quit for fear of endangering her newborn and other family members. While trying to figure out how to help, Pratheek’s school administrators suggested he do something with the school’s 3D printers.
He gathered a group of friends to brainstorm ideas. They decided to manufacture face shields. Within a few weeks, Pratheek had contacted companies across the Boston area and secured the use of more than 10 3D printers. Local families offered to provide several more. His team then began raising funds for materials by applying for grants and building a website to seek donations and sell T-shirts. Over an intense four-month period, Pratheek and his friends made 2,251 face shields out of 3D printer filament, transparency sheets, tape and hair bands, and delivered them to hospitals and senior facilities across Massachusetts, along the East Coast, and as far away as Puerto Rico. “In a world where nearly everyone is struggling, we wanted to bring some light to frontline workers who were sacrificing their lives so that we could survive this deadly pandemic,” said Pratheek.