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Evolved Media 3D Printing PPE visors for NHS and care staff

Junior members of Evolved Media’s team have been 3D printing protective visors (PPE) that are in short supply for NHS staff across hospitals, surgeries and care homes. Evolved became involved in this work almost by accident. We occasionally take time out to explore new technology and over the last few years we have worked with drones and other  research projects. We decided to take a look at 3D printing at the start of 2020. Within days of purchasing our initial small startup printer the world started to be engulfed in the COVID 19 pandemic and so began our journey into the world of 3D printing.

Some of the forums on 3D printing started to talk about the possibilities of printing materials to help meet shortages of parts for ventilators and printing various types of masks that healthcare workers need and that have been in short supply. Our team began to experiment in printing some of the designs being made available in the various 3D and maker forums. At the same time we joined some facebook groups that were actively trying to match up requests for equipment with 3D printer owners. 

We soon found ourselves talking to a local group organised from a local garage that was printing protective visors and getting requests from local hospitals, GPs and care homes. So we volunteered our printer and got to work. 

Learning Curve

This has put our team on quite a steep learning curve. Our initial interest was to experiment low key and learn about 3D printing. Over the last 3 weeks that has rapidly accelerated to 24/7 production. We rapidly went from one small starter printer, to adding another two larger and better specified 3D printers. Then another larger one. Finally we invested in a higher level professional 3D printer. We now 5 printers that we keep running round the clock.

So far we have printed approaching 500 visors .

Sending out protective visors to meet requests across the country. Collectively the group we are working with has probably printed 1000s.

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Evolved Media has purchased all printers and provided the resource to manage, monitor and maintain them. We setup a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of materials, which included filament, visor shields and elastic straps. Plus some shipping costs.

With social distancing in place we have effectively turned our home into a small 3D print farm. Luckily the company has run as a virtual office setup for nearly 5 years. So we already have an office setup and are used to running the business in this way.

So what have we learnt?

Well 3D printing is much like the traditional printing industry and of course is a form of manufacturing. The printers need to be managed and maintained. The cheaper ones need a lot more monitoring than the more expensive professional ones. Sometimes you turn your back and they go crazy.

Sometimes you turn your back for 5 minutes!

We have to manage our inputs of raw materials. Making sure we have a stock of the correct filament type. Also the visor materials and elastic head bands. These are all in short supply so getting stock can be difficult. Also getting it at reasonable prices. The printer settings need to be optimised. We learnt the hard way speed isn’t everything. Quality is more important. Which also reduces wastage.

Continued efforts…

We are continuing to print the visors and head bands that protects medical staff and helps stop soreness from wearing the filtered face mask that strap behind their ears. Requests are still coming in through a variety of routes. Evolved has invested in the printers. We asked for donations for materials such as filament through a GoFundMe page and got a great response. So far this has covered most of the cost of materials.

If you would like to support us please check out our GoFundMe page.

Evolved Media | News | ID:4111 | v2.2 | Last modified 2020-06-30T12:55:48