Jim Wadle, manager of Production Applications Support and Services at the Knight of Columbus Supreme Council headquarters, has turned his hobby into a lifesaving measure in service to Connecticut hospital workers.
It began on March 31, when Jim’s wife, Sarah, spotted an Essex Library Facebook post stating UConn Health was looking for area hobbyists who have 3D printers. More specifically, they needed 3D printers capable of using 1.75mm PLA* media to help print mask adapters for hospital staff working with infected COVID-19 patients.
Knowing her husband had a 3D printer, she immediately shared the information with him.
Jim, who purchased his 3D printer about two years ago as a hobby, is a self-described "tinkerer by nature."
Once he got the news from Sarah, he wasted no time in reaching out to UConn Health's Keith Petit (email@example.com), who had put out the initial query. Keith quickly replied with files for two different designs that are currently being used at UConn Health and offered to send supplies.
The mask adapters are composed of a frame with spikes that allow for mask material, such as surgical fabric, to be attached. With these, UConn Health can use masks where the elastic no longer functions.
“I told Keith that I could start printing out the more versatile spiked versions of the parts immediately and volunteered to utilize the PLA stock I already had at my home," said Jim.
He began printing on April 2. The need turned out to be so immediate that a representative from UConn offered to drive to his home in Ivoryton to pick up the first batch of 30 frames on Monday, April 6.
As of last week, Jim has developed a routine that allows him to print one frame every 30 mins or so. He uses a heated bed to assist with adhesion of the PLA, which takes several minutes. After that, the printer needs a few minutes to heat up the nozzles again.
“Now that I am working from home in the same space that my 3D printer is located, I can easily monitor and start jobs quickly throughout my workday," Jim explained.
As of Monday, April 13, he had another 50 parts ready.
Jim Wadle has worked for the Knights of Columbus as the manager of productions application support for almost five years and is a member of the local Essex council as a lecturer. He is also a veteran of the CT Air National Guard, with 14 years of service.
Special thanks to Jim and his wife, Sarah Wadle, for sharing the text from which this story has been adapted. Share your own story of how you are helping the community by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in a special bi-weekly edition of Knightline, a resource for K of C leaders and members. To access Knightline’s monthly archives, click here.
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