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Idaho Makers Unite teaming up to 3D print PPE

Posted at 3:04 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 17:04:46-04

Everyday people all over the Magic Valley are working to use their skills to provide much needed personal protective equipment among a nationwide shortage.

Penni Aufderheide, a fourth and fifth grade music and robotics teacher in the Jerome School District, is just one of 25 "Makers" in the Magic Valley. She says she wanted to use her knowledge and passion for STEM to help others. That's why she's using her 3D printing skills to help create PPE.

"When you start coding it's just like music. It lights the same fire in my brain," Aufderheide said. "I can't go into the hospital and help, but I can sit and make PPE."

In Jerome, both the library and the high school have become "hubs" where makers can drop off PPE equipment they've created. It's an effort that started with Adam Day over at the Twin Falls Public Library, which is also acting as a "hub." Once the library closed, Day started working with the Idaho STEM Action Center to see what he could do to help.

Once PPE is dropped off at the hubs, it will be sent all over Idaho to wherever it's needed, thanks to the partnership with the STEM Action Center.

"If they see a need in the Treasure Valley or another part of the state that we're not aware of but we can help fill that need, we'll receive that request and ship that equipment out to whomever that may be," Day said.

Day says there's one thing "makers" have in common.

"It's about being creative and innovative," Day said. "Thinking outside the box and using materials that you have at your disposal in ways you wouldn't usually use those materials."

It's all in an effort to protect the place Day and Aufderheide call home.

"This is my home. These are my friends and my neighbors. I care about their safety," Aufderheide said. "I have many friends that are in the medical field right now and if I can make their day just a little bit more comfortable, that's what I would like to do."

"You know, the call comes out that your community needs assistance, how great is it to know that there's, in the general population, there are people that have a skill set and have a desire to help out," Day said.

The group wants to help as many people as possible, and they're always looking for volunteers.

If you'd like to help, or you are in need of personal protective equipment, click here.