Scouts fire up their 3D printers to help during the pandemic

Left, Vishnu Moorthy and his sister Siri. Right, Brantley O'Day II.

Ever since news circulated of Canadian Scout Quinn Callander’s idea to create “ear savers” to help doctors and nurses at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scouts in the Boy Scouts of America have been emulating the effort in their communities.

Scouts use a 3D printer to make the “ear savers,” which are polymer pieces situated behind a person’s head and attached to face covering straps. They alleviate pressure to one’s ears, making the face covering more comfortable to wear for a long time. Computer-generated plans dictate to the 3D printer how to robotically print a digital design into physical form.

A 3D printer is not an inexpensive piece of equipment, usually running at least a couple hundred dollars. Some Scouts have borrowed the equipment or saved their birthday and Christmas money to buy one, like Life Scout Brantley O’Day II of Troop 265 in Gibsonville, N.C., did. Brantley has made hundreds of “ear savers” to donate to area hospitals, pediatric clinics and veterinarian offices.

Andrew Deeds, of Troop 8 in Monument, Colo., made more than 3,000, which he has shipped to first responders, schools and grocery stores around the country and even to Germany. Tenderfoot Scout Vishnu Moorthy of Troop 685 in San Diego, along with his sister Siri, created dozens of “ear savers” for doctors and nurses in their hometown.

Life Scout Christopher Blake of Troop 312 in Irmo, S.C., devoted his Eagle Scout project to making “ear savers.”

“The end goal of all this is to meet the local need for medical equipment,” he told CBS News 19 WLTX.

Eagle Scout Anthony Weinmann of Troop 44 in Cincinnati made hundreds of “ear savers” for healthcare workers, telling his local CBS affiliate news station Local 12 WKRC that “it feels great knowing that I’ve helped someone and helping other people that save lives at a hospital.”

The Swartz family, part of Cub Scout Pack 150 in Enterprise, Ala., has also been producing “ear savers” from their machine at home, running it every day, so they can make 500 in a week. First Class Scout Spencer Jacobs of Troop 64 in Hickman. Neb., has donated thousands of the devices, including some to mayors, state legislators and the Nebraska governor.

Share your Scout’s service

These are just a few examples of Scouts helping during the COVID-19 pandemic. Scouts have also been making face shields and face coverings, too.

You can share how your Scout or unit has been serving by visiting go.scoutingmagazine.org/showandtell or sending an email to scoutingmag@gmail.com. 

If your unit is planning on meeting in-person again, make sure to follow these guidelines for restarting Scouting. Make sure to follow CDC guidelines for wearing face coverings and follow local and state guidelines. For any outings your unit has scheduled, Boys’ Life magazine might want to cover it — you can send your plans here.

If your unit is continuing Scouting at home, check out these resources to help you plan.

About Michael Freeman 213 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.