Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

For the past couple of summers, you could find former French biathlete Clement Jacquelin at the Espace Vercors biathlon stadium several days each week, testing and demonstrating his unique 3D printed rifle stocks and accessories for youthful French biathletes and BMW IBU World Cup stars training at the home stadium of Martin Fourcade, Emilien Jacquelin and the Chevalier sisters.

Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

Attention-grabbing Victory
His innovative products are now sprinkled throughout the biathlon world, grabbing the biggest attention when his younger brother Emilien sprinted past Johannes Thingnes Boe in the final uphill into the Südtirol Arena to claim the IBU Pursuit World Championship title. Clement, a former IBU World Junior champion was just like a proud parent that day and thrilled for his younger brother.

Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

Need for Masks
All the time, the coronavirus epidemic was crossing the globe, eventually striking Europe and countries like Italy, Spain and France with a vengeance. The massive need for protective face masks changed Jacquelin’s focus “on the 20th of March when we saw that the European Commission was looking for people with 3D printers. They were looking for some people who could make masks or elements with 3D printers for hospitals.”

Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

Three Hours
Jacquelin quickly went into action. “We saw some 3D files on line, ready to be used. The options were to wait for approval or we could start and prepare our machines for when that happened. Then it went very fast. In 3 hours, we had the first model of a mask. It was not very good, but thanks to that, we changed some elements: the materials, speed of the machine…The second and third were each better.”

Sharing and Developing
At that point, this quick-minded engineer felt it was time “to share the files; there are many 3D printers in homes and businesses in France. It was important to share, because we were working to save lives. From there it has grown and many people are using our elements to print masks.” The amount of sharing was almost overwhelming. “Much more than I ever imagined; it is very nice because the 3D community is a big family of people who are very passionate. It is maybe the first time that we are all working on the same project, saving lives. We share a lot of designs and ideas and collaborate on supporting hospitals, shops or firefighters in the different regions in France; wherever there is a need. In this way, we continue to develop and improve.”

Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

Fulfilling the Need

Once the basic masks were developed, it was not hard to find the need for the protective gear, especially as the virus continued to explode in France. “Thanks to some articles, we were contacted by hospitals and others who wanted masks or elements. My other brother Augustin created a map showing the need and manufacturers so we can rapidly coordinate and connect the need and a close-by person to manufacture. In our place, we can only make about 100 pieces a day. A hospital near Lyon contacted us; transport and shipping is a problem now. But I contacted a person just two minutes from them; they connected and in a few hours, they were producing what was needed. It is not just one person manufacturing and shipping but a community effort using many nearby people.”

Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

Helping Shops and Firefighters
Even in this time of need and with the ability to act quickly, the process of making the masks for the people closest to the virus like hospitals is complicated. “We are waiting for the authorization from the government to make this type of mask. However, there are many people like shops and firefighters who have a need. By helping them (with a 3D barrier mask), we help the hospitals because there are less people going to the hospitals. It is very satisfying to help the local community.” In Villard de Lans and around the Vercors region, he has manufactured and delivered in conjunction with La Fabrique du Ski about 400 masks. “We try to be very safe in doing this, cleaning everything and not getting too close to anyone. Sometimes, we put the masks in the letter box and send them a text to let them know they are there. It is all pretty cool.”

Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

Tireless Work

IBU World Champion Emilien accordingly praised his brother’s tireless work on this life-saving project. “His work is amazing. He works every day, with little rest, not for him but for society. I am really proud of him and what he has achieved.”

Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

Crowd-funding

A project like this does not come cheap, so Jacquelin has reached out to the general public via a crowd-funding portal at https://www.leetchi.com/fr/c/50Mj2Zar. The idea came from a Twitter user who contacted him to see how he could help. “Overnight, there was 1000 Euros, which was incredible. That allowed us to buy some medical grade 3D materials which are quite expensive. It has continued to grow (now close to 22,000 Euros) and we share this with others in the community who need materials.”

Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

“I like what I do”
After spending years in biathlon, getting an education and starting a business that combined both, like many people, the coronavirus epidemic has affected Jacquelin’s life. “I know myself better…When I was doing sport; I was very methodical and analytical; very professional…But I was not very creative or sharing a lot because I was so focused on being a top athlete. In university, studying engineering, my mind opened up; I saw people doing other things like art, music. That helped me become more creative and imaginative. Now I am well-balanced between the analytical, creative, methodical, sharing and the imagination process…I like what I do every day; if I am able to help someone have a little smile. Whether it is making a rifle stock, a small piece for a pistol grip or mask, or helping disabled people. Emilien’s World Champs title helped me and my discussions with him before that, helped him.”

Clement Jacquelin: Biathlon Innovations to Coronavirus Safety Solutions

Life-Changing
“I have always wanted to find solutions to problems and share them with others. I have made things for sport and now this. I do not know where this will take me, but it has been life-changing.”

Find out more about Clement Jacquelin’s projects at www.athletics3d.com and www.3dchampions.org

Photos: Clement Jacquelin, IBU/Petr Slavik

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