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Keyano College: Helping Healthcare Workers by Producing 3D Printed Mask Anchors

Keyano College
BY Keyano College
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Keyano College is joining the effort to build 3D printed mask anchors for local healthcare workers treating those suffering from COVID-19.

College faculty were alerted to the efforts of Tom MacIsaac, an Engineering and Robotics teacher at Father Mercredi Community High School, through a local newspaper article. Concerned over reports that mask elastics were irritating nurses’ faces, MacIsaac created a mask anchor using the high school’s 3D printing device to ease their discomfort.

The feedback from local health care workers was immediate and positive.

“Workers are very grateful that such a simple thing has made such a difference,” he noted. “Our healthcare workers are expected to be at the tip of the spear in this fight and if we can help make their lives just a little bit better during that time then as a community we should be doing everything we can.”

Jean-Pierre De Villiers, Keyano’s Chair of University Studies, reached out to MacIsaac to offer support as Keyano has several 3D printers. The three printers are part of College’s Medical Makers makerspace and have been sitting idle after classes were moved to online delivery.

“The College has already printed a large amount of the devices in a short period of time; this will now permit us to offer them to many of our front line and essential workers,” said MacIsaac.

Lab staff, Chrissi Sheppard, Karli Matthews, and Brittany Ropson operate the printers during the day. In the evenings, De Villiers comes in to start an additional batch. The College can produce about 96 per day and will continue to print as long as there is demand.

MacIsaac expects the need to grow as the pandemic continues. As such, he expressed much gratitude for Keyano’s support.

The flooding that impacted downtown Fort McMurray at the end of April interrupted those efforts, but if needed, it was expected that printing would begin again once the main Campus was reopened.

 “As a community we need to support each other and those that keep us safe,” he said. “All of our frontline and essential workers deserve a hand on their shoulder, they did not choose this but they are doing their jobs in these very trying times.  What we have done is a very small thing but many small things will have a large impact.” 



  • A health care worker uses a 3D-printed mask anchor. Photo by Tom MacIsaac.
  • One of Keyano’s several 3D printers. The College can produce about 96 mask anchors per day and will continue to print as long as there is demand. Supplied photo.
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