TAMPA, Fla. -- A Tampa Bay Lightning employee has turned his side business into a potential life-saving solution.
“My first 3D printer came from the arena. Thanks to the (Amalie) Arena I got into all of this,” Bryce Huffman said.
Huffman is a network administrator for the Lightning’s parent company Vinik Sports Group. That’s where he began dabbling in 3D printing for to make replacement parts for Amalie Arena.
“Once I held something in plastic that was an idea from my head created into an object in my hand…this power is incredible,” Huffman said. “I love this feeling to be able to create stuff. I immediately bought one for myself at home.”
He now has 15 3D printers for his “HUFFCO 3D” side business.
When he saw a need for protective supplies, like masks to healthcare workers and people needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, he sprung into action.
He found the schematics for the masks and began mass producing them. Depending on the size of the mask, it takes an average of four hours per unit.
“This part in the front actually pops out,” Huffman demonstrates. “You have these two pieces that separate. You can put any filter you want in here.”
The best part about Huffman’s masks is that they are reusable.
“You can put any filter you want in here,” he said. “If you put a non-woven medical sponge, those are incredibly cheap. You put that filter in between the two sections and boom, you can throw away or replace as needed.”
The Lightning organization has taken notice and he agreed to cover the cost of materials and distribution to local non-profits.
The first delivery of 60 masks went to The Spring of Tampa Bay, a non-profit that prevents domestic violence.