If you are a Carousell user in Singapore, you might have seen a giveaway for mask extenders (also known as ear savers) on Carousell earlier this year at the peak of the pandemic. 3D printing startup Siege Advanced Manufacturing (@siege_advanced_manufacturing) started the initiative for the general public as the law for compulsory wearing of face masks came into action. Each user could receive four ear savers for free with an added mailing fee of $1.50, as meet-ups were not allowed during the Circuit Breaker period.
“We started with a crowdfunding attempt to donate face shields to hospitals in the region and other groups in need. As face shields became less of a requirement, we turned to ear savers. They are quick to manufacture and something within our budget that we can offer to the public. We just wanted to do something for others that is within our means,” shared co-founder Daphne who led this initiative. They found the open source design online, created to allow others with 3D printers to produce for their own communities.
She explains, “We adapted the design and made it smaller and shorter to fit asian faces as the original was too long and will cause the strap to drop to the neck. 3D printing also allows us to manufacture on demand, as it’s an instant manufacturing process. This means that we don’t need to produce excess pieces which will contribute to wastage, and we don’t need to worry about having insufficient, as we can just manufacture it again.”
Daphne and the founder Chi Jie were surprised that many wanted to purchase additional ear savers to give away. “There were quite a number of people who wanted to purchase additional ear savers while redeeming the four free pieces, to give to delivery riders/ taxi uncles/ friends and family out of goodwill. Some of them also offered to pay for the four free pieces, so that we can in turn give their four free pieces to others more in need. It was very heartwarming! We gave away about 3,325 ear savers and sold about 3,745 ear savers on Carousell (some of them bought in bulk for their employees) over three months,” said Daphne. One user that stood out had wanted to buy them for an elderly hawker at her nearby hawker centre.
Daphne shares that the company is back to focusing on our 3D printing services, now that businesses have all resumed. “We had been affected during Covid-19, as many of our projects that were discussed before Covid-19 had to be put on an indefinite hold. We also 3D print for many events and creative industries, which were badly affected during Covid-19, so that in turn affected us. Other than demand, supply was also badly affected. During the lockdowns, our materials and printer parts were stuck in places all over the world, and getting locally made items jacked up our costs a lot. At least we made good use of our time and we feel happy that we were able to contribute in a small way through the face shield and ear saver campaigns during this time,” she said.