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Telford man turns 3D printing hobby into protective mask production line

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | Coronavirus | Published:

A 3D-printing enthusiast from Telford has found a way to use his hobby to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Adam Willoughby with his face shields

Adam Willoughby has been printing face shields to supply healthcare staff and key workers with personal protective equipment.

As well as requests from care homes, he has delivered 20 of them to Hope House children's hospice near Oswestry.

The 33-year-old, of Lawley, has also partnered with the National 3D Printing Society which, working with Medical Supply Drive UK, has assembled a manufacturing and distribution network to help meet the PPE demand nationally.

He said: "I do this as a hobby but I wanted to help out with this emergency.

"I've had contact with care homes to send them equipment.

"There are also midwives that have got in contact saying they would like some PPE. I'd like to branch out and help other care workers."

Adam currently has access to two 3D printers at his home but would like to upscale his operation to speed up production, and is urging anyone who can lend him a 3D printer to get in touch.

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The business intelligence developer, who works for ReBOUND Returns in Telford, has also thanked his company for making donations towards supplies.

Members of Telford Makerspace, a community-run group based in Wellington, have also offered their help.

Andy D'Arcy Jewell, chair of the group, said they were happy to assist Adam in his project.

"Adam called me to ask if our group could help him," he said.

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"Several of our members have got 3D printers and so we agreed to do our bit to help.

Mission

"We are quite a small group, we work with high and low tech.

"There are probably around eight of us working with 3D printers on this project.

"Everybody wants to be doing something to help - so this is like a mission for us."

Adam has launched an online fundraising page to help pay for the materials he needs to make the face shields, and intends to use some of the money to buy additional 3D printers.

It has raised more than £1,000 in a matter of days, with more than 40 people donating.

On the fundraising page at gofundme.com, Adam posted: I'm working open source to print face-shields and in addition to producing PPE myself, I’m also working to co-ordinate a regional effort with other volunteers who have access to 3D printing to collectively distribute to hospices, pharmacies and hospitals in my local area.

"We have already made more than 100 units using my own money and I’m aiming to make a further few thousand," he added.

"As the coronavirus continues to spread (adding pressure on the NHS) and as my contacts in this area grow, I’m seeing increased demand, so to help reach this target, I’m now asking for donations to keep this effort going.

"After Covid-19 has passed, I will be donating any additional 3D printers to local schools and colleges and any surplus money will be given to charity."

To donate to the cause, visit gofundme.com/f/free-ppe-face-shields-for-workers

Anyone who can loan any 3D printers to Adam can contact him through the fundraising page.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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