Young tech pro crafting face shields
Cherokee Nation citizen Mikah Walters, owner of MTech Cave in Stilwell, is using his 3-D printer to craft face shields for people in need. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Face shields made by are lined up at his shop in Stilwell. COURTESY
Mikah Walters wears a face shield he made in this photograph posted to Facebook. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Mikah Walters’ 3-D printer made these parts for face shields. COURTESY
STILWELL – A young, technology-focused business owner from Stilwell is using his downtime to create face shields to help others stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mikah Walters, 22, a Cherokee Nation citizen and owner of MTech Cave in Stilwell, makes the headgear with a 3-D printer normally used to craft tabletop gaming accessories. The shield itself is cut with a laser. After some trial and error with face shield plastics, Walters is expecting a shipment of acetate for future masks.
“I’ll have enough plastic to make 200,” he said. “I’ve already given out 40. I’ve got another 60 on the shelf. These are sturdy. You’d have to try really hard to break them.”
Walters is offering the masks to individuals and families for free other than shipping costs because, “I know everybody hasn’t been able to find them.”
The masks have garnered interest from hospitals, ambulance drivers, first responders and “lots of families,” he said.
“I am not charging for this, and am not asking for anything in return,” he posted on his MTech Cave Facebook page. “These are free to people in need, and if businesses want to purchase some, they will be $5 each.”
Walters’ girlfriend, Makayla Baird, helps add foam for comfort and assemble the parts.
“She’s been helping a lot,” Walters said, adding that it’s a “lengthy process” to create the masks. “It can take about 24 hours, plus build time, just to make 10.”
A 2016 graduate of Sequoyah High School, Walters attended Indian Capital Technology Center with an IT emphasis. In January 2019, the lifelong tech enthusiast opened MTech Cave in Stilwell, where he repairs cell phones, tablets, computers and other electronic devices while also hosting a lounge for gamers.
Like other businesses, MTech Cave has altered its operational approach as social distancing is encouraged across the state and country.
“I’m still open to people who hit the doorbell, but I’ve pushed online orders a lot,” Walters said, adding that top sellers are products related to Warhammer, a tabletop fantasy game that uses miniatures. “I’ve been shipping out six to eight packages a day now. I’m in a small town, and I’ve never sold this much Warhammer stuff. It’s basically proven a good investment now that I have it available online.”
MTech Cave, a CN Tribal Employment Rights Office-certified business and member of the Stilwell Area Chamber of Commerce, is located at 11 North First St. For information, call 918-218-2039, email firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit mtechcave.com