PPE production by D & T Department
The shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline NHS staff during the current coronavirus emergency has been well reported. Marc Rogers, Head of our Design and Technology Department (D & T) has been following this story on the news and twitter. One tweet about the story requested that anyone with manufacturing capability (3D printers, laser cutters etc.) could help in the production of PPE for the NHS. Further messages suggested that it might be possible for D & T departments within schools to use machines which were necessarily idle during school closures to help. Marc decided to put his skill, and that of David Fernandez (D & T Technician) together with Bancroft’s equipment to good use.
“I found prototypes of the various components on line and decided to build the Prusa MK 3 developed by the 3D printing company Prusa. Each 3D printed frame takes 1.5 hours to complete, so to make best use of time we set the 3D printing in stacks of four overnight. The visors can then be constructed the next morning.” Once the frames have been printed, the rest of the job is pretty swift: cutting the visor shield takes seconds and assembling them a couple of minutes. It is necessary to wear masks and gloves to keep manufacturing as clean and germ-free as possible.
Following construction, the visors are placed in sealed bags for three days (to avoid any virus being passed on). They are then distributed by @3dcrowduk or @medsupplydrive. The visors are be picked up and delivered directly to local NHS points of need. The school has received several requests directly from parents working within the NHS for these PPE items.
Currently the Bancroft’s operation is capable of producing 32 visors a day. Marc Rogers said, “We will continue to do this as long as we have the resources. We do foresee that souring the materials will become a problem.” Although he has looked to see whether there are any local businesses which can provide spare materials for this initiative, so far Marc hasn’t had any offers of help. If you can help, please contact Marc via @BancroftsDTE
Marc says that he acknowledges the support he has received from Josef Prusa of Prusa3D. He would also like to thank the distributors, other D & T departments which are part of this drive as well as the wider 3D printing community. Finally, everyone at Bancroft’s would like to thank and acknowledge all members of the school community, and indeed everyone nationwide, working within the NHS during this current crisis.
Thank you! Send to your local NHS hospital for us to wear with pride.@DrAlanWatson Consultant Gastroentrologist & Physician (via Twitter)