Cee-Jay Williams of the Junction Tap in Woking, Surrey, and his friend Tim Charlesworth, are part of a wider group whose first batch of 1,000 sterilised clips – used to attach the protective plastic visors for doctors and nurses working closely with coronavirus patients – was delivered to hospitals across the UK yesterday (7 April).
With the NHS facing a deficit of up to 80,000 face clips, 659 members of the UK’s 3D-printing community have produced close to 17,000 face mask clips for front-line staff, at the time of writing.
According to the latest figures from the Department of Health and Social Care, more than 55,000 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK.
Making a real difference
After seeing 3D printers – which create items by squirting molten plastic through a tiny nozzle in accordance with layered designs mapped out on computer – being used to make personal protective equipment for front-line healthcare workers in Italy, Williams decided to harness the abilities of 3D printing to join the UK’s fight against Covid-19.
After some trial and error, he and Charlesworth perfected the process of making sought-after attachment clips.
“Now we’ve mastered the technique, we should be able to make a lot more – and fast,” Williams explained. “I’ve bulk ordered more of the filament needed to create the clips and then it’s back to printing.
“Tim and I decided that’s what we needed to make after reading online that the NHS was missing so many of them – there is an abundance of visors, but not enough clips for people to use them.
“I hope that we can make a real difference to our amazing NHS and help them to continue to do the incredible job they are doing for the people of this country. I can’t thank them enough for the work they do for us every day but, hopefully, this small gesture goes some way to show all of our appreciation.”
Williams’s work adds to the ongoing efforts from the wider on-trade sector to stop the spread of Covid-19. As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), drinks maker William Grant pledged two Olympic swimming pools’ worth of ethanol to the hand sanitiser production effort.
What’s more, the likes of BrewDog, drinks giant Diageo, Suffolk brewer Adnams and Norwich-based Bullards Gin have also thrown their weight into the production of hand sanitiser.
As reported by MA, Diageo said it would help produce 8m bottles of hand sanitiser for front-line workers by donating up to 2m litres of alcohol to manufacturers while Adnams has offered alcohol and its facilities to the University of East Anglia (UEA) to produce sanitiser for the NHS and social care workers.