Laser engravers re-purposed to cut fabric for medical masks

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Laser machines formerly used to engrave wood for jewelry makers are being used to cut pieces of fabric to prolong the use of face masks for medical professionals.

Within cardiac testing unit at the Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany, two women are applying their home-based laser-cutting systems to a new purpose. Here they have set up a makeshift sewing factory where 60 people are using fabric cut buy their laser systems in order to cover up N95 masks and prolong their life. Up until now, according to Phoebe Health, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, workers have gone through as many as twelve N95s a day. 

With Beth Crain and Trista Yarborough's fabric pieces, however, medical staff will only have to replace their N95 once it's soiled.

'We've been able to make over twenty thousand pieces, which is about five to six thousand masks.' said Crain. 'I have it setup to where I can absolutely get every square inch possible out of the fabric to use the most of what we have. It takes us about 5 minutes to get 350.'

Crain and Yarborough plan to continue crafting the fabric products for as long as the need persists.

Source: WFXL. Image credit: Simone Jameson

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