Technology

Coronavirus: 3D-printer owners rally to create NHS face masks

3D printed equipment in the back of someone's car Image copyright 3DCrowd UK
Image caption 3D-printed equipment is being transported to health workers around the country

Some 1,400 3D-printer owners have pledged to use their machines to help make face shields for the NHS.

Started by palliative-medicine doctor James Coxon, the 3DCrowd UK group is now looking to recruit more volunteers.

It says thousands of its 3D-printed masks have already been made and donated to hospitals, GPs, pharmacies, paramedics and social-care practices.

Healthcare workers say they are having to put themselves at risk because of a lack of personal protective equipment.

“We are basically asking all the people around the country with 3D printers to join our project to create face shields for hospitals and other health workers,” said Gen Ashley from 3DCrowd UK.

“We also need volunteers to help distribute the masks and donations from companies and the public to pay for materials and distribution costs.”

Once volunteers have registered on the 3DCrowd UK website, they are sent instructions on how to produce headbands for the masks.

These are then bagged up and sent to a hub to be assembled. A clear plastic film is also added at this stage.

3DCrowd UK has launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to raise £40,000 to help cover the cost of the materials and postage. Donations currently stand at £20,000.

Healthcare workers can order the face shields via the 3DCrowd UK website.

Some 365 orders have been placed so far, for 110,000 masks.

The face shields have not been formally approved by the UK government or the NHS, which have yet to respond to a BBC News request for comment.

But Ms Ashley told BBC News 3DCrowd UK they had been approved in the Czech Republic.

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