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13-year-old Va. boy uses parents' 3D printer to make masks he's now donating

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13 year old Charles Randolph (Photo: WJLA)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (ABC7/WJLA) – Charles Randolph, despite being out of school and a bit bored, keeps busy thanks to his parents.

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Randolph says, “My mom has me on a super strict schedule. It’s not the best thing in the world but, two hours of homework every day, don’t enjoy that often, but you know.”

He also stays up on current events and came up with an idea at his home in Falls Church about helping his uncle and others amid COVID-19 fears.

“I saw in the news that high-risk patients, people with existing diseases like heart problems and asthma, I thought this would help him, " says Randolph.

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Charles great uncle in Atlanta, also named Charles, needs a heart transplant. He knows his mom’s uncle could use a mask. So, he made one on his parents' 3D printer.

“My dad and mom signed me up for enrichment classes when I was younger.”

And that's where he learned about 3D technology. Charles has graduated from making toys on the printer to creating a mask he got off a public domain web site.

“You use a slicer which takes the product that you got off Thingiverse and it turns it into code that the 3D printer can read. This is the first real, useful thing that I’ve made," adds Randolph.

So in about 90 minutes, at a cost of about a dollar a mask, Charles Randolph is making a difference. Now Charles is cranking out more, researching where he can donate them.

Randolph says, “It may not be 100 percent of a filtration system but it works.”

No, they probably wouldn’t work perfectly for a doctor or nurse on the front lines of this pandemic. But for a great uncle in Georgia, it may get him to the transplant he desperately needs.

Randolph says, “I feel pretty good. I’m pretty quiet, chill. Yeah, I feel pretty good about this.”

Oh, and did we mention that Randolph is 13 years old.

“I’m just waiting for another idea to pop up in my head,” says Randolph.

So are we.