Fairfax Co. teen uses 3D printing to help meet the demand for protective gear

Aashray Manchanda used a 3D printer to make face shields.

Aashray Manchanda, a junior at Fairfax High School, during a robotics competition.

Aashray Manchanda at his 3D printing workstation. He and his friends have produced 250 face shields.

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A Virginia teen is using a very special set of skills to make sure first responders and local businesses are getting the protective gear they need to serve the community.

Aashray Manchanda is a junior at Fairfax High School and he’s been working with 3D printing technology as part of a robotics club for years. Last month, he began looking for a way to make a difference during the pandemic.

“That sort of inspired me to put my engineering skills to use,” he said.

Manchanda said he and a friend in New York printed and donated more than 250 face shields. They’ve since launched Hack the Pandemic, and have begun connecting local people who can sew and print with medical professionals and small businesses in need of their skills through their organization.

He said the response has been overwhelming.

“There’s been a ton of really good response from the community,” he added.

Through Hack the Pandemic, they’ve been able to crowdsource the efforts of many who have masks available or want to make masks but don’t know where to send them.

Hack the Pandemic has helped get more than 1,600 masks to those in need in New York and across Maryland, Virginia and D.C.

They’re inviting anyone with a 3D printer to join their team to help meet demand.

The group is working with a nonprofit, Fair Lakes Youth Association, to make sure the donations are tax deductible.

If you’re in need of masks, would like to donate supplies or make a donation to help purchase supplies for 3D printing, visit Hack the Pandemic or make a donation to the group via GoFundMe.

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