Beekeeper, STEM teachers 3-D print masks

NICHOLAS COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – When you think of fighting the pandemic, you don’t typically think of beekeeping and 3-D printing being part of the equation, but one local beekeeper makes sure those on the front lines are protected.

“Our medical professionals need personal protection equipment,” said Jason Bragg with New River Honey Bees. “These being 3-D printers, the way they work is they extrude a hot plastic, so as soon as it’s printed it’s going to be sterile.

Teaming up with Fayette County schools, Bragg uses a number of 3-D printers to help build face shields for medical professionals.

“The 3-D printers feed a plastic filament string, almost like weedeater string, through these tubes and lays down a layer at a time until it builds up to the finished mask.”

Bragg typically uses his printer to make beekeeping supplies, but the coronavirus has made for a few changes in how he does business. With those changes, he has made the time to print at least 100 headbands to send to WVU in Parkersburg. There, they’ll assemble the rest of the mask to be issued to the National Guard.

Bragg says the effort couldn’t be possible if it weren’t for Fayette County Assistant Superintendent Anne Kincaid-Cline pitching the idea and the STEM teachers that help.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.