Florian and I arrived in London on an unsurprisingly rainy day 6 years ago. We’ve been feeling right at home ever since, enjoying the vibrant and buzzing city life in Isle of Dogs, East London.
We are both passionate software engineers. The best part in our job, in my opinion, is being able to solve problems and help people with their digital challenges.
After being a full time employee my whole career, I recently decided to quit to build my own business. My last day was in early March and with the pandemic going full speed, I decided to put this new dream on hold to find ways to help people during this crisis.
Being a quite geeky couple, we got ourselves a 3D printer last Christmas and had a lot of fun with it! On my quest to make myself useful, I found a post on a 3D printing forum about people printing face shields at home to help healthcare workers. That’s when it all clicked, we already had most of the equipment, it just made sense for us to get started! All we needed was to buy some A4 binding covers and a hole puncher.
When we distributed our first batch (only a dozen) we realised the demand for protection what much higher than we thought. More and more people would reach us and ask us for more. We felt we needed to do more, but we were already printing 24/7.
We give these protections for free, and we also try to deliver them ourselves using our bicycles. We are now looking to scale up our production so we can help more people. So far we’ve been using our own savings to make these face shields, but we are running out and we need your help!
The goal is to buy around 10 printers to make 200 face shields every day for 30 days, totalling at least 6,000 to donate. We do hope to make more of them as we are still tweaking the configuration of the printer to optimise the output.
Picture of Aline preparing a stack printed overnight. We are using a bamboo screen to protect our kitchen from plastic particles.
List of expenses with invoices
List of face shields donated
CCTV live stream of the printers
Can I see some pictures?
What do the doctors and nurses think of it?
Here are some of the messages we have received:
"I would like to thank you for your kind gesture. We are struggling cause we don’t have much to protect our selves. The trust is happy and would like to have more masks if you make them."
"I'm a junior doctor working at Lewisham Hospital at a COVID-ward. Thank you so much for designing and making these fantastic visors! It will be of massive help on our wards. Currently we are re-using any eye protection we possibly can due to shortages." -- Zaina Salahuddin (the lady on the picture)
"I work at Great Ormond street hospital and if you were able to donate visors they would be gratefully received!"
How will you spend the money?
Firstly to buy new printers, but most of the money will go towards buying the plastic filament & plastic sheets needed to make the shields.
With £5,000, we should be able to produce 200 face shields per day for 30 days.
In other words, for every £1 you give, a doctor or nurse can be safer.
You can find our financial planning here .
What will you do with the printers after?
We will offer to donate them to schools or other entities to help them teach kids.
How much will you sell them for?
We won't . They are 100% free.
How bad is it?
Here are some quotes from reputable sources:
12 April on BBC
"Supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) in London and Yorkshire are at dangerously low levels"
12 April on The Gardian
"With shortages on the frontline persisting and 19 deaths of NHS workers so far, the Royal College of Nursing advised members to refuse to treat patients with suspected or confirmed coronavirus if they do not have enough PPE."
11 April on BBC
"Coronavirus: Lack of PPE 'killing' staff says trade union. Unison Cymru said one of its members had died from coronavirus"
11 April on The Independent
"We want to be there on the front line tackling this virus, helping our patients,” said Dr Wrigley. “But we are hearing from doctors – over 2,000 doctors responded to us and over half of them said they haven’t got the right facemarks to work in high risk environments"
10 April from the British Medical Association
"The BMA has learned that personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies in two large areas of England are running at dangerously low levels, and that some pieces of equipment are no longer available – forcing doctors into impossible situations and ultimately, putting their lives at risk."
Shouldn't we focus on getting more NHS approved supplies instead?
Responsiveness is the issue. The best thing we can wish for this project is to be obsolete as quickly as possible. We have a shortage today. 3D printing PPE is an immediate response to an urgent situation.
Most of the factories are in China. They can't produce enough protection for everyone. They also have to ship it to the UK, which is currently challenging.
Until governments resolve this issue, any protection is better than no protection.
3DVerkstan designed the model we are printing.
Craft Central, provider of workspaces at the Forge (Isle of Dogs), has given us free of charge a private space in order to accommodate the use of several 3D printers and accelerate our production.
Laurent Defontenay introduced us to the Craft Central.
Nendie volunteers with us on this project.
Bikeworks is talking care of the delivery
And last but not least, the Limehouse Community Forum who started to provide everything needed for this project (networking, funding, logistic and much more) when we needed it the most.
For everything you have done, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!
- Anala Prabhu
- Danielle Reynolds
- Magnus Davey
- Xuan Tran
- James Etherington
Fundraising team: Aline and Florian (2)
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