'Fab Lab answering the call to produce face shields for the NHS

Sandwell College’s Fab Lab is answering the call to 3D print hundreds of face shields for NHS heroes on the Coronavirus frontline.

The college was keen to use its own resources and help in any possible way to respond to the shortage of much-needed PPE. After retrieving the three 3D printers, materials and a laser cutter from the lab, manager Anne Scrimshaw has recreated her workplace digital laboratory and set up a print room in her house.
She started off printing around six visors a day and is now on track for a daily target of 20, which she then seals in silver bags to meet strict hygiene rules.
Anne has signed up to help the army of volunteers at 3dcrowd.uk who are setting up regional centres to meet the urgent demand for 500,000 face shields. Thousands of people are producing 3D printed masks to help address the shortage of PPE in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 3D printers create the headband part of the face shield, bag up the parts and send them to the closest hub where they are assembled. A clear plastic film is placed on the front and elastic attached to the back to hold it in place. Anne said:

“It is a very small room, so it doesn't feel very high tech - but the idea is surprisingly good. I could soon be making as many as 140 face shields per week.
“3dcrowd now has over 7,000 volunteers and so they have produced thousands of these so far, which considering nothing was in place four weeks ago is actually amazing!”
Sandwell College Principal, Graham Pennington, added:

“We are proud to play our part in helping to protect the medical and health workers who are fighting coronavirus. This is a practical, tangible way for us to help protect vital staff in a time of national emergency.”
The face shields produced by volunteers like Anne will be distributed to NHS Trusts across the UK, to hospitals, GP practices and social care organisations helping protect frontline staff who are treating COVID-19 patients.
Fab Lab’s vital assistance with visor production is in addition to Sandwell College’s deliveries of essential supplies and support to students during the period of lockdown and donations to local food banks.


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