Tattoo shop owner turns 3D printing hobby into helping give back to the community

Covid Care Pack. Photo supplied by Josh Smithers.

SAULT STE. MARIE: In an effort to help the community stay safe during these unprecedented times, Ol’ 55 Tattoo Company owner, Josh Smithers is turning his hobby of 3D printing into a way to give back to the community.  Since the shop closed its doors on March 12, Smithers has been shifting his routine from tattoos to 3D printing essential items, such as ear guards, button pushers and mask frames,  to help keep frontline workers safe and comfortable at work and to provide a FREE Covid care pack to the community. 

“I had two 3D printers that I was already using for hobbies, and with that, I figured I might as well use it to my advantage and do something positive.” said, Josh Smithers.  “I’m trying to look at a third 3D printer to be able to keep up with production for the amount we are trying to give out and especially being free, we want everyone to have access to them so the more we can put out the more help we can do.” 

Smithers first received this idea of 3D printing from a friend Ashlyn McMillian of the Downtown Association, “The first time I saw 3D printing was a Reddit article shared on Facebook regarding a boy scout that was 3D printing “ear savers” for his local hospital. Earlier that day my friend who is a nurse was mentioning how sore her ears were. I just so happened to remember Smithers had a 3D printer from one of his Instagram stories.” 

McMillian shared this video with Smithers immediately, knowing he’d jump on the opportunity to lend a hand. 

“Smithers has always been community-minded and knew he would love to help the community any way he could at this time. He really ran with the idea and made the button pushers, mask frames and ear savers, including some gloves I’m sure, came from the tattoo shop and going the extra mile to deliver them to those who ordered them. How rad is that ?” said Ashlyn McMillian. 

Smithers has 3D printed over 300 ear guards that he has donated to the Sault Area Hospital and is offering to the public a free Covid care pack which includes; one mask frame, one ear guard for mask straps,  one no-touch door opener with button pusher for ATMs and debit machines, one pair of single-use gloves, size medium (while supplies last), and one free art print. In these care packages, Smithers has also created a pamphlet with instructions on how to properly sanitize package contents, how to build masks, proper social distancing and handwashing practices, as well as a few mental health support resources available during this time. 

As of Monday, May 4 Smithers has delivered 40 free Covid Care Packs to the community and has about 125 care packs assembled. In explaining the reasonings as to why he is delivering these items instead of allowing individuals to pick up from the shop, Smithers expresses his concerns for unnecessary travel and figured “I have a car, I can just do deliveries.” 

Upon deliveries there is no contact with the individuals; once your order has been completed and is ready to be delivered individuals will be notified by either text message or email. You will again be notified by text or email once your requested order amount has been delivered to the street address provided. 

In keeping with the demand for 3D printing materials, various individuals have donated funds to help contribute to Smithers’  initiative. 

“We’ve had great feedback from the public. As soon as people found out what we were trying to do, we’ve had a number of donations from generous contributors and they have sent these donations through [email protected], which is the same address that you can order your masks through.”

To order your Ol’ 55 Tattoo Company COVID Care Pack please send an email to [email protected] containing the following information: phone number, delivery address and order request.  Smithers instructs that individual to mindful and refrain from ordering more than needed. 

For more information check out Ol’ 55 Tattoo Company Facebook page. 



  1. I got my first tattoo ever here and wow, I am so floored with how great Josh is (not just tattoing but for selflessness)! 🙂 thanks so much for supporting the community and healthcare workers! and you know I will be coming back when all this is over to SUPPORT LOCAL !!!!

  2. This is such a wonderful idea. I’m Josh’s dad and I think this is such an awesome way of giving back to the community and directly helping those who are working on the front line of this terrible situation. I am so proud of my son for his unselfish contribution.
    Thank you Joshua!
    James Smithers

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