Schools across Oxfordshire have been contributing to the national effort to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS staff at the front line.
Graham Frogley, Engineering Teacher at The Cooper School in Bicester, explains how he has been using the school’s 3D printer to produce visor bands.
“When schools across the nation were closed ahead of the lockdown, some staff, including myself, returned to collect our 3D printers. I was asked by local business 3D Print World if I could print some visor bands for the NHS as they had orders totalling over 7000 to supply a wide range of organisations in the UK at cost. I duly received the file and proceeded to print the bands, running the school's 3D printer alongside my own for up to 15 hours per day from home.”
“So far, I've made nearly 200 visor bands. I’ve delivered 144 of them to 3D Print World, where they then clean and add the face shield to them and distribute them across the country. I understand that my last delivery of 60 was destined for a care home, which I am pleased about.”
“Yesterday I 3D-printed 28 bands and made clear face shields to match from stock in DT, which I donated to our local surgery in Bicester.”
Mr Frogley added: “I'll keep printing the bands until the call comes to stop! Even a small organisation like The Cooper School can help a much larger regional and national effort to help where we can. Hopefully some of the large industrial plastics manufacturers will step up with high volume injection moulding machines.”
Mr Frogley hopes that students at the school will be able to benefit from the project for years to come. He said: “Ultimately our response to this life-event could be an engineering case study when we return to the classroom, revolving around design, materials, ergonomics, distributed flexible manufacturing and teamwork. Hopefully some students will learn from this to become our future engineering entrepreneurs!”
In the south of the county at UTC Oxfordshire, Year 13 student Tom Pooley is leading on producing visors using both the school’s and his own 3D printers.
Staff at Bartholomew School in Eynsham have been making masks and visors for a range of care providers in the region. The school is also producing laundry bags and head bands for NHS workers.
On 10th April, the government published it’s ‘Covid-19: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Plan’, giving details of how it plans to ensure that everyone has the PPE they need.