3D-printing protective equipment for COVID-19 NHS workers | Our news

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3D-printing protective equipment for COVID-19 NHS workers

Barts Health and Queen Mary University of London have teamed up to 3D-print new visors for front line staff at The Royal London Hospital treating COVID-19 patients.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) protects NHS workers against catching coronavirus through droplet transmission while caring for infected patients, and includes items such as safety visors, gloves and eye protection.

The newly designed single-piece visor can hold acetate sheets to provide full face and neck protection for use during consultations and aerosol-generating procedures. The head bands are re-usable after disinfection with alcohol wipes or when submersed in disinfecting solution, and the acetate and elastic band are disposable. The design has been approved by the Barts Health Infection Control team for use in the Emergency Department, Critical Care Unit and other wards.

Barts Charity has awarded £25,000 to assist in the production, which would allow the team to create nearly 10,000 visors by using commercial printing facilities.

Project co-ordinator Professor Shakeel Shahdad, Consultant in Restorative Dentistry at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “The ingenuity of the combined team has allowed us to start immediate in-house production of 3D printed visors. Our aim is to equip all clinical staff with 3D printed visors and expand out into producing these with faster and higher volumes with injection moulded designs in the coming weeks.”

Reader in Bioengineering, Dr John Connelly from Queen Mary’s Blizard Institute, added: “Professor Shahdad sent out a call last week to those labs with 3D printing capability to ask for assistance in 3D printing visors for face masks. The original visor design has been successfully modified by the Robotics team in collaboration with Queen Mary spinoff company, Keratify, to improve the printing efficiency and stability.

“At the moment, there are around five to six groups at Queen Mary printing visors and sending them over to the Institute of Dentistry where Professor Shahdad’s team is attaching the face shield and elastic bands, before passing them over to The Royal London Hospital.”


Add a response »
  1. Carol Morris Wednesday, 8 April 2020 at 11:37 PM

    RLH/Barts always at the forefront of developing new ways of helping in times of need. Great team working with Queen Mary’s .

  2. tom sensier Monday, 13 April 2020 at 01:03 PM

    I have a small flashforge 3d printer I also have a manufacturing facility with up to 4 people doing light mechanical and electronic assembly can I help at al ?

  3. Chris Rose Monday, 13 April 2020 at 07:55 PM

    I have a raise 3d n2 dual 3d printer and was wonding if I could help.
    I dont have that much materials so it would need to be replaced and was also wondering about somethign else that could help.

    My all means 3d print the first part, but as 3d printers are very slow and things like vac casting, injection casting/moulding are way faster, but need some expensive machinery, but a more amateur home kitchen table technique could be to make a flexible silicon mould mould of the parts then pour in something like 2 part fast cast resin which sets in a couple of minutes. In theroy you could make hundred of parts in the time it takes to 3d print 10. Only fast cast resin is brittle and weak and hard so not so suitable but could another material be made the same way only a lot more practical ie flexible, hard wearing biol safe etc?

    Could make the mould and send it to a hospital and this would work a lot quicker if they had somone low skilled knocking these out and someone cleaning them up and one assembling them

  4. Len Beasley Saturday, 18 April 2020 at 04:40 AM

    I have a small Flashforge 3D printer. Unfortunatly too small to print face mask bodies. But I could make smaller items. If there are files available to make items that are smaller than 150mm X 150mm then I can help.
    The printer is sitting doing nothing WASTE!!!
    Kind Regards L Beasley