Alaska Air National Guard uses 3D printers to make masks to help reserve N95 masks for medical workers

Senior Master Sgt. Ray Allen, the production superintendent for the 168th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, removes the scaffolding from a 3D printed Montana Mask March 31, 2020, at the 168th Maintenance Group hangar on Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The scaffolding helps support the mask material as it is being printed so that it maintains an accurate shape. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Shannon Chace)

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Alaska Air National Guard is doing its part to make sure non-medical 168th Airmen have the masks they need to protect themselves.

Recently, Airmen from the 168th Wing have started using 3D printers to make N95 masks.

"Some of our jobs demand PPE-like masks, but we’re trying not to use them," said Lt. Col. Jennifer Casillo, commander of the 168th Maintenance Group. "We’ve sent a list to medical letting them know what we have in our current work sections.”

The airmen started making the makes to help reserve N95 masks for medical personnel who need them now.

The team of airmen looked for a design online and settled on “the Montana Mask.”

“Although not yet approved by any state or federal regulating institute, early testing shows the mask to be effective if fitted properly. Because the body of the mask is made of plastic, this makes the mask reusable and can extend the current supply of mask material available,” said the Alaska National Guard in a press release.

The masks currently being made will be used by non-medical 168th Airmen who need them in their line of duty.

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