CHARLES CITY, Iowa - While the coronavirus pandemic has put the brakes on tire sales, Nelson Tire and Auto is putting their energies into a new venture, creating face shields with their 3D printer.
Owner Dave Martin says the company that made his 3D printer gave him the idea.
"They actually shut down all printing and started printing these masks and they gave the file out to everybody that owns one so we can contribute," said Martin.
Each mask takes about two hours to print and costs $10 to make. Martin has been preparing to donate them to first responders and hospitals.
"We just figured we would put it out for local and we've been getting phone calls from all over. people wanting the masks and stuff like that. so we're just going to try and fill the demand," he said.
Lots of people in the Charles City community are also helping out to make the masks, using Cricut machines to cut the transparent pieces for the shields. Martin said he bought out the state's remaining stock of transparency sheets.
People who aren't so crafty are opening up their wallets to help.
"We've actually had quite a few phone calls today at the shop of people wanting to know how to donate money to keep this going and produce more so we called the bank and got everything set up through them."
For Martin, he's just glad he can do a small part to keep workers safe on the front lines of the pandemic.
"It feels kind of good. we're giving them away and you know, it is what it is."
If you own a 3D printer and would like to try making the mask frames, Martin has put the file up on his Facebook page for download. There is also a link where people can donate money to help pay for the costs of the masks. Nelson Tire and Auto's Facebook page can be found here.