Sherwood Park man gifted 3D printers by ‘Secret Santa’ to make equipment for hospitals

A Sherwood Park man’s summer passion project has been reignited after thousands of dollars worth of printing equipment was mysteriously delivered to his doorstep.

Kelly Davies had been busy making face shields and ear relief straps using 3D printers since early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through word of mouth and media coverage, Davies and his friends sourced 3D printers and materials — including from M.E. LaZerte School and McNally High School.

“We were printing constantly. In three weeks, we had produced about 300 face shields,” Davies said. “I have sent them to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the Grey Nuns and many senior facilities.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Winnipeg 3D printer hobbyists make PPE for front-line workers

Davies estimated the team has created about 10,000 ear relief straps and said the need for more is still there.

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However, the printers borrowed from Edmonton schools needed to be returned in September. Without the large-scale machines, the crew expected production to slow down substantially.

Davies said he only had one “temperamental” machine left running at his house, and it was down for repairs.

“Without those printers, things were going to slow down. We still had been printing ear relief straps but our production was going to drop. There was no way around it,” Davies said.

Click to play video 'Health Matters: 3D printed face shields for health care workers' Health Matters: 3D printed face shields for health care workers

Health Matters: 3D printed face shields for health care workers

Then, in early September, he arrived home to find two packages on his porch. Inside each was a brand new 3D printer, which Davies valued at more than $1,000 a piece.

“There was a little note that said, ‘I hope these machines can help you keep doing what you’re doing,’ and it was signed Secret Santa,” he said.

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The note also included a phone number and the name Eric.

Read more: N.B. company and N.S. university make 3D printed face shields for health care workers

“I phoned Eric and he said he had just wanted to make sure I knew this whole thing was for real and that it was sent from someone who cared about the initiative and wanted to keep things going,” Davies said.

Davies said Eric told him that he and his brother fulfill random acts of kindness in honour of their late mother.

“Eric and his brother have been playing Secret Santa all over the place. The first story I heard was that he went into a toy store around Christmas and handed someone his credit card to pay for everyone’s purchases,” Davies said.

Apart from that information, Davies said he has no clue how Eric discovered his need for the printers.

He has spoken with Eric only once more since the first conversation. His Secret Santa asked him if he needed anything else.

“To this day, he does it all through Amazon. These packages of filament [material for the printer] just show up at regular intervals on my doorstep,” Davies said with a laugh.

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“I’m just trying to honour the gesture and keep these machines running as hard and as fast as I can.”

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