Brothers use 3D printer to make face visors

A not-for-profit company set up by two young brothers during Covid-19 to produce face visors for healthcare workers has received a boost from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

In March, Revd Rebecca Sparey-Taylor and her husband Graham, a lecturer in engineering at Wolverhampton University, challenged their two sons, Joseph, 13, and 11-year-old Isaac to build the 3D printer that they received for Christmas and planned to use to make their favourite Minecraft and Pokémon characters. 

With both their school closed and a house move cancelled due to lockdown, their parents decided that the 3D printer seemed a good way of filling long days at home. The boys were inspired to make 3D printed face visor frames to help out during the pandemic.

An appeal to the local community for some assistance was met with such enthusiasm that the project swiftly grew to become the largest part of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s registered community supply chain of 3Dprinted face visors, working 24/7, based in Ysgol Clywedog and in association with AVOW. 

Support from local small businesses, clubs and individuals resulted in PPE Hwb Wrecsam being loaned 30 3D printers from the Wrexham and Chester area while drawing volunteers across a wide range of experience and age.

When BCUHB declared they had sufficient supply, our volunteers felt moved to support those care workers, frontline workers and key workers beyond the responsibility of BCUHB so PPE Hwb Wrecsam CIC was formed.

Rebecca Sparey-Taylor said. “We have a fantastic team of volunteers. Some have tech backgrounds, but we also have some with no experience, including relatives of NHS workers.”

As the move out of lockdown continued and demand increased, PPE Hwb Wrecsam developed an injection mould for their visor frames which allowed them to move away from 3D printing to high quality injection moulding. With this development, PPE Hwb Wrecsam was able to increase their capability to produce frames to up to 30,000 a week.

The face visors have been awarded a CE Mark Category III, which is the gold standard for PPE. The community interest group provides their face visors free-of-charge and is funded entirely by donations. 

With requests coming in from small businesses, the deaf community, care workers, counsellors, retail workers, volunteers, charities and shielding individuals to name but a few, it became necessary to speed up production of the visor screens and retaining bands.

In a bid to achieve this, PPE Hwb Wrecsam contacted the Steve Morgan Foundation for a grant to buy a Clicker Press and were awarded £2,130 by the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund, which paid for a second hand Clicker Press.

Management team member Alison Thompson said: “The grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation has made a massive difference. The facevisors are provided free-of-charge and all the donations go back into keeping the project going. The need for face shields hasn’t gone away and we’re now looking at starting to produce a three layered face mask.”

Jane Harris, director of regional funding, said: “It is an amazing story of community pulling together in their time of need and we were delighted to be able to support them.”

 

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