UP native 3D printing ear guards for healthcare workers

MINNESOTA — A UP native, Josiah Geiger is originally from the city of Houghton. He is now a senior at Minnesota State University, Mankato, studying mechanical engineering.

A fraternity brother showed him a post on Facebook about a Boy Scout in Canada using a 3D printer to make ear guards. The ear guards are designed to relieve the pain that comes with wearing a face mask for extended periods of time. Geiger thought that was a great idea, so he went to his own 3D printer and got to work.

“In times like this, you have to find some way that you can help,” said Geiger. “So I was looking for some way to help. When I saw someone else helping in that way, knowing that I had the same resources, I wanted to do the same.”

Although busy with schoolwork, he’s been making as many ear guards as he can in his spare time. He’s been able to supply organizations in several states with ear guards, and he hopes to provide more as the pandemic continues.

“I just print them out whenever I have free time,” said Geiger. “I can do like seven in a run, and then when it’s time to make modifications to my printer or something I put it down for a day. I donated to the Mayo Clinic here in Mankato and plan to donate more to Mankato. I sent a package to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and a family member in Kenosha, Wisconsin requested some for his workers, so I’m going to print about 60 and send them down there. Orders are just slowly trickling in, but they keep me busy.”

Geiger says in these times of uncertainty and hardship, everyone can find a way to be of help. He’s happy to do his part to reduce some of the physical pain our frontline workers deal with every day.

“I think people need to find a way to do their part,” Geiger said. “There’s a responsibility to the people around you, and should try to find a way to use what you have to help the people around you.”

Geiger will be graduating in just two weeks. He plans to continue making ear guards for any organizations interested.