Portsmouth experts 3D print more than 100 protective visors for NHS - and they need your help to make more

ORGANISATIONS across the Portsmouth area have teamed up to produce more than 100 protective visors for NHS staff.

Monday, 30th March 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 30th March 2020, 12:24 pm

Enwezor Nzegwu, an enterprise consultant at the University of Portsmouth, has been co-ordinating the mammoth efforts since Thursday, after an appeal from a friend who works in the NHS.

The Makers Guild, University of Portsmouth, and 3D printing hobbyists have fired up 10 printers across the city to produce more than 100 protective visors – and are processing requests for 200 more.

The visors have been delivered to three GP practices across Portsmouth, one in Denmead, and one in Waterlooville.

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GP surgery staff wearing the protective visors

It comes after Dr Katherine Henderson, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said on Sunday that the PPE supply chain was a problem but is being worked on.

Enwezor, a former contestant in The Great British Bake Off, said: ‘I was told staff were running out of PPE equipment – they haven’t received any from the central NHS even though they have been asking for weeks.

‘I started putting feelers out there – and found The Makers Guild were already beginning to make visors.

‘We’ve contacted all of the GPs in the area to see what they need.

GP staff wearing the visors made by the 3D printing community across Portsmouth. Picture: Enwezor Nzegwu

‘We’ve had enquiries from pharmacies, from charities – all sorts of places where there is contact with the public.’

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The visors are not government-recommended protection, but NHS staff are facing declining supplies of kit, according to one recipient of the supplies.

The Fareham-based GP, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I want to say a huge thank you to the people behind this project.

Enwezor Nzegwu from Southsea. Picture: Malcolm Wells (190522-0146)

‘The response has been amazing – within 24 hours we had a supply delivered to our surgery for all our staff.

‘The reality is PPE supplies are running low. The government is doing its best to get these to everyone who needs it, but in reality we need to plan for low supplies and even running out.

‘These visors can be wiped and used again and again – if nothing else, they stop us from touching our faces.’

It can take a 3D printer more than seven hours to make a batch of 10 plastic visors – but the university is working on a prototype visor that can be made by a laser cutter in less than 30 seconds.

Enwezor said: ‘I’m talking to several companies about using the prototype design.

‘I think we are going to need thousands.

‘Everyone needs equipment like this.’

A crowdfunding campaign is due to be launched in order to cover the costs of production of the prototype visors, with the project being run not-for-profit.