• Can you help us 3D print Face Shields for the NHS?

3rd April 2020

Working in partnership with Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, staff from South Devon College’s Hi Tech & Digital teaching department have been busy developing an open source 3D printing programme for protective visors. This was in response to the call by frontline health and care staff for Personnel Protective Equipment required in the battle against COVID-19.

The Hi Tech & Digital team have now successfully started to manufacture the visors using South Devon College equipment. This equipment, whilst observing strict social distancing guidelines, has been relocated to various domestic locations whilst the College is closed to face to face teaching. Today, South Devon College delivered 150 units to Torbay Hospital which will go a long way in protecting staff and patients. This is in addition to the team continuing to engage with their students, providing online learning and package training solutions. Check out our helpers and some images of the delivery process.

There are three key elements to the visor: 

  1. The bracket (or headframe) that attaches to the head with a separate bottom reinforcement. 
  2. The clear visor screen (A4 size with hole punches that allow attachment to the bracket). 
  3. The cord/elastic that is used to tie and secure the visor in place. 

The response from the local community has been heart warming with Crispin Associates, Darthaven Marine, Partington Print and Ecomotus, amongst others, donating resources, time and money to allow the team to increase the number of 3D printers and resources for each element available.

As a provider of essential vocational and technical training for all ages across the region, I am proud of the Hi Tech & Digital team at South Devon College who are offering this support to the NHS and community at this difficult time.

We are now at a stage where the open source 3D print file for the visor has been developed and approved by our colleagues at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. This has included refining the programme to increase efficiency and timescale of the production cycle. If you have access to 3D printing technology that can produce the visor – we will happily share the file.

Here are some ‘top tips’ if you wish to get involved:

For Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) or Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) 3d Printers, using filament reels, current setting are for PLA, ABS, PETG.

  • 4mm Nozzle
  • 10% to 30% infill
  • Shell thickness minimum of 3
  • Layer height of 300micros or 0.3mm
  • No Supports or Rafts
  • · Between 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 mins run time per unit for Headband and 20 mins to 30 mins run time per unit for the bottom reinforcement (as a combined print of both headframe and bottom reinforcement can have a run time of 1 hour 30 mins to 2 hours, depending on speed, feed and type of printer).

Any other technical specifications or questions can be provided on request.

If you can support South Devon College with this project and help protect our NHS, then contact Assistant Principal and Lead for Hi-Tech, Steve Caunter, by emailing stevecaunter@southdevon.ac.uk.

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