May 14, 2020
Des Moines Boy Uses 3D Printer To Make & Donate "Ear Savers" To EveryStep Staff
Landon Stull already had a 3D printer and a lot of filament at home. He was just waiting for a project.
That project recently materialized during the COVID-19 pandemic when his mom shared a story about a boy in Canada who used a similar printer to make ear savers for EveryStep care staff and other healthcare workers around the country.
"I've been wanting to do something that I could make a difference, even if it's on a smaller scale during this tough time," he says.
Ear savers are a small device healthcare workers can place on the loops of their facemarks helping to reduce the pain caused by the mask elastic.
"I did some research and did some testing and modification, and I settled on a model," Landon, 12, said of starting the project.
So far, he's made about 60 ear savers and sent them not only to EveryStep, but to doctors and nurses on both the east and west coasts of the U.S.
Landon says he's able to make about four ear savers at a time on his printer, with each batch taking about 90 minutes to complete.
"It feels pretty fantastic and awesome to have a way that I can help," he says. "There's been some days I'v had the printer going non-stop as long as I'm awake."
Landon says he's received notes and calls of thanks from those who have received the ear savers, including EveryStep chief medical officer Dr. Tom Mouser who his family is friendly with.
"I called Landon and told him how touched myself and our whole organization was and would be that he took action like this," Mouser says.
Many nurses had mentioned their ears were hurting and the device was perfect, Mouser says.
"It is extremely, extremely rewarding," Landon says of the project and receiving feedback from those he's helping.
Landon, who balances his ear saver project with school work, says he doesn't plan to stop making the devices anytime soon.
"I definitely have enough supplies to keep going for a while, but we don't know how long this is going for," he says.
While not everyone has a 3D printer on hand to make ear savers, Landon suggests there are plenty of other ways people can contribute during this time.
"There are so many ways to do these," he said. "There's knitting or using a button. Most talents you have, you can find a way to help out."