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Local family use their 3D printer to make headbands for essential workers

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COVID-19, has left students out of class and their parents unemployed or cooped up working from home. All while essential workers take on long hours and stressful working conditions.

Many families are trying to do their part by physical distancing, self-isolation and staying at home. But for the Lake family of Fort Frances, isolation was just the beginning. They’ve decided to help essential workers by manufacturing headbands on their 3-D printer.

Headbands are rectangular, biodegradable plastic structures with a series of hooks on both ends. The headbands hold the mask ends together for a better fit. The face mask elastic hooks on the headband ends to prevent healthcare workers, who are required to wear face masks on for long hours, from having sore ears. These headbands are also more sanitary and efficient, because they can be changed quickly without touching the face.

Kevin Lake and his wife, Adrienne have three children, Samantha, 17, Lorelai, 10 and Parker 8. Kevin said the idea was pitched to Adrienne’s friend on Facebook, knowing they had a 3D printer at home they could use to print headbands.

Kevin said when he knew the advantage he had with his 3D printer. He and his daughter Lorelai found some websites that offered the free headband designs. The Lake family has so far supplied about 200 headbands to Rainycrest long term care, the Fort Frances clinic and the hospital.

“During the day when I am at work my daughter Lorelai keeps the printer running because it takes about an hour and a half to make five headbands,” Kevin said. “You can only do so much during the day.”

“Lorelai enjoys doing them and keeping the printer running,” Kevin said. “It makes it fun to do while she is at school.”

There are also fabric headbands with stitched buttons on both sides that act as an alternative to the plastic ones. Both headbands relieve healthcare workers from headaches that come from wearing masks during long work hours.

Although this activity kept the family occupied, Kevin said they miss going outside.

“They are wanting to go back to school because it has been so long and there is no end in sight, Kevin said. “They are missing their friends and their grandparents because they are sitting at home with their mom and can’t go anywhere.”

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