3D printing consortia produces thousands of visors for key workers
This week we interviewed Rhys Gwilym from social enterprise, Menter Môn, to tell us about an extraordinary initiative which has helped provide thousands of PPE visors for hospital wards, care homes and key workers across Gwynedd and Anglesey.
See this page in: Cymraeg
Can you give us a summary of what has been achieved?
So far, with the help of businesses, schools, colleges and individuals we have managed to produce 3527 visors and the majority of these have been delivered to Ysbyty Gwynedd, care homes, undertakers and other key workers across Gwynedd and Anglesey.
How did this come about?
This first came about when I received a phone call from Dr Simon Burnell, who is a Consultant Anaesthetist at Ysbyty Gwynedd. Before the pandemic, he had been coming to Ffiws Makerspace in Porthmadog to use our 3D printing equipment.
Dr Burnell asked if it was possible to use the 3D printers in Ffiws to produce face shields for his ward at YG. Both of us started looking into the possibility of producing face shields using 3D printers and found that there was a number of local organisations, businesses and individuals who were looking to do the same.
To ensure that the process could be as efficient as possible, Menter Mon, Msparc, North Wales Tech, Wyn Griffith (local designer) and a number of other businesses and individuals came together to create a consortium where we could all decide on the most suitable course of action. For example: Which model would be best to print? What type of material? What suppliers do we need to involve?
It was decided that Msparc would be the delivery point for the visors and would also be the production centre, and the staff at Msparc have done a great job co-ordinating this project. I’ve been 3D printing visors but I’ve also been going to Msparc two days a week to help with production and general co-ordination of the project. Menter Mon have allocated £2000 to help with this effort, and this has gone towards 3D printing material and material to produce the clear visor for the face shield.
Did you have to overcome any major obstacles / challenges?
One of the main challenges that was presented was trying to co-ordinate everyone who was involved and to get everyone on the same page. Everyone had their own opinion of which model would be best to print, how to do it efficiently etc.
A forum was set up by North Wales Tech specifically to try and sort out this issue and after a few days of discussions we had come up with a plan of action. Another issue was the supply of PETG sheets that would be used to make the clear visors.
At the beginning we contacted retailers for this specific material but there was a huge demand for it and everywhere was sold out. Through a lot of persistence and using our networks, we managed to find the material from local schools and businesses.
Any there any members of staff / community you would like to give a special mention to?
Special mention to MSPARC- Pryderi and Emily for co-ordinating the effort, and Katherine and Derek who have helped with production and collections of visors.
Dr Simon Burnell – big part of co-ordinating the effort and helped with choosing the best design for the face shields
Wyn Griffith – he has 3D printed over 500 visors himself and has been a big part of co-ordinating and sourcing materials, prototyping etc.
Every individual and business who has helped with this effort be that 3D printing, cutting material, delivering etc. It really has been a team / collaborative effort.
If you had one message for the social business sector right now, what would it be?
Keep up the good work. Continue doing your part in engaging with communities and making a difference. Adapt your role and think of ways to address the issues that are facing the communities during this challenging time.
A massive thank you to every individual and business who has helped with this effort be that 3D printing, cutting material, delivering etc. It really has been a team / collaborative effort.
Menter Mon is a not for profit company providing solutions to the challenges facing rural Wales. They work with businesses, communities and individuals, to deliver meaningful projects, that harness their strengths and contribute to a sustainable future. They embrace and recognise the value of our resources and seek to add value for the benefit of the community. These include our natural and built environment, our cultural heritage, our agricultural and food sectors and most importantly our people.
To find out more about the social enterprise, please visit: https://www.mentermon.com/en/
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