From D&D to PPE: Reno company shifts gears to print face masks amid pandemic
RENO, Nev. — GriffonCo, a Reno-based 3D printing company, recently announced it’s halting production on usual orders to manufacture and distribute more than 500 face masks to area hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
According to a March 31 press release from KPS3 Marketing, Katie and Andy Muth own and operate GriffonCo out of their home. Andy is a web developer at KPS3, and Katie homeschools their children while managing GriffonCo full time.
While the company regularly produces miniatures and figurines for the popular tabletop game Dungeons and Dragons, the duo is using its 3D printers to print 100 visor pieces for faces masks per day.
READ MORE: In addition to the March 31 press release, KPS3 published the following Q-and-A with the Muths about the endeavor.
Once the visor is cut, the Muths use laser cutters to modify the plastic shield, producing one entire face mask in just over an hour. GriffonCo is producing the mask provided by 3DVerskstan, a Swedish 3D printing company.
“We’ve been watching the news and seeing online that people are using their 3D printers to help local healthcare workers, so we decided to reach out and see if we could help here locally,” Katie said in a statement. “After producing a few prototypes, we delivered samples to hospital administration.
“Once we knew they not only would accept them, but they were very much in need of them, we got right down to business.”
According to the March 31 press release, GriffonCo has shifted to focus 75 percent of production efforts on creating face shields. As of the end of March,t he Muth family had delivered 200 face shields to the VA Hospital in Reno and 200 to Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks, as well as small numbers of shields to various medical practices in Reno and Sparks.
They will continue to distribute the face shields in the weeks to come.
READ MORE: On April, the Reno Gazette Journal published an in-depth story about the Muths’ efforts.
The UNR Innevation Center, The Discovery Museum, Reno Collective, UNR College of Engineering, UNR De La Mare Library makerspace, Reno Type, the Washoe County Library, and various other community members are assisting GriffonCo in the efforts.
“Once we realized we were unable to keep up the demand, we reached out to other local makers,” Katie said in the press release. “Now we have approximately 20 different groups of people printing visors for us to donate to the hospitals. We are currently receiving requests from various practices all over town, and we’re hoping to expand production to provide as many face shields as we can.”
Anyone who would like to assist GriffonCo can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.