Every day, Elias Friese’s dad wears a mask at the clinic and hospital.

Friese said his dad saw an article online about a special accessory that could help make wearing those masks a little more tolerable, and he asked him if that was something he could make.

“He asked if I could print them for him and his colleagues at work,” explained Friese.

So, Friese got busy at his Redwood Falls home creating mask straps that hold masks on the face of people wearing them without having to hold them in place with the elastic around their ears. Friese was able to begin making the mask straps with his 3D printer.

According to Friese, they were able to find a print file at thingiverse.com, and then Friese got to work printing them.

“I have been printing two straps at a time,” explained Friese. “It takes about 90 minutes.”

Friese’s dad, Josh, then takes the straps to the hospital and hands them out to people who need one.

A family friend who is making masks is also selling the mask straps with the masks she is creating.

Friese is donating the straps he makes to medical personnel, adding others who request one can purchase a mask strap for $1.

According to Friese, with the stay-at-home order in place, he takes random moments here and there to work on the straps. Then it is just a matter to waiting until the printer is finished.

“If I am actively printing more, I can print about 12 per day,” he added.

A 3D printer uses a plastic filament on a spool, Friese explained.

“When I first ordered my printer five months ago, I ordered an extra roll of filament,” he added.

He is still waiting for that.

Friese has been able to continue printing, as he was able to order other spools through Amazon.

According to Friese, “this season of COVID-19 has been challenging for our house as well as everyone else. School is the same as always, as I am home schooled. Graduation may be different than I expected. My dad’s schedule is completely skewed from normal. I miss seeing my friends, neighbors and people at our church.”

For Friese, 3D printing is a hobby, not a career goal.

“I enjoy the creativity of the process,” he explained. “The variety of items you can print is vast – mini-figures, bucket handles, vases for my mom, coasters and board games are some of the items I have printed in addition to mask straps."

Friese’s current plans after graduation include interning at Camp Shamineau in Motley where he will be helping to run weekend retreats and family camps from September to May.

“I still don’t know if I will be able to counsel at the summer camp I have worked at for the past three summers,” Friese added.

Then he plans to pursue a degree in outdoor leadership.

If people are interested in acquiring a mask strap from Friese, they can e-mail jrkem@redred.com.

- Submitted photo