Creating masks for healthcare heroes

Zaid Bashir with masks and 3D printers

3D printers and a host of raw materials gathered by the media and technology team at Bradford College have helped create masks for frontline health workers in the fight against Covid-19.

Zaid Bashir,  Technology and Media Manager at Bradford College, has created the masks to help protect NHS staff, with more than 50 already delivered to Bradford Royal Infirmary and another batch due to be sent to a local surgery this week.

He said: “I wanted to join in with the national community of people trying their best to help support our healthcare professionals where we can.

“Although 3D printing in industry is mostly used for prototyping new products, I soon came to realise that as part of a larger national community we could try and support our NHS staff in by helping them protect themselves at such a time of crisis as they are selflessly looking after so many of us.”

Zaid began to research ways of developing protective equipment for staff and found some blueprints of protective face shields freely distributed in the 3D online printing communities. He added: “I made a few adaptations to the designs to try and fit these in with any of the raw materials I already had.”

The four 3D printers used by the college were donated in 2017 by former student Ben Hawksworth. The innovative technology enables students to print items in plastic that they have designed on a computer.

As well as the special material used with the printers, the masks have been made using laminated pouches for the clear shield ,which have been laser-cut for precision, and elasticated headbands.

Zaid added: “Although I've been working in isolation on site, it has been a team effort in that my colleagues and the rest of our team have continued to support our remote learners online whilst working from home, so I wouldn't have been able to do it without their help.”

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