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DT department delivers face shields to NHS workers

Our DT department is proud to have partnered with the King’s School to deliver much-needed face shields to our local NHS healthcare providers. 

With demand for PPE (personal protective equipment) in the news daily, and the protection of our amazing NHS staff paramount, Junior King’s has been keen to use its resources and the knowledge and skills of its staff to contribute to efforts to tackle the coronavirus. 

Teaming up with the King’s School’s Head of DT, Mr Rolison, Junior King’s DT Technician Miss Rooke has been working from home over the Easter holidays with the school’s 3D printer, producing frames for protective face shields. Yesterday, the Partnerships team were able to deliver 135 completed shields to frontline workers at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital. 

The process of producing the shields is fascinating. Having adapted another school’s design, Mr Rolinson had his prototype approved by senior NHS staff before starting work. With the design set, Miss Rooke then loaded this into the printer’s software, which tells the nozzle where to push out the material (PLA in this case) to produce the frame of the shield. The PLA is heated to about 215°C and extruded out following the design. Once the frames are printed they are then sanded down to ensure there are no sharp edges that might injure the wearer.

The shields themselves are made from PET at the senior school using a laser cutter. Holes are added to attach this to the frame, with assembly completed with elastic that goes around the back of the frame to fit the head, providing adjustability. Feedback yesterday from anaesthetists Maddie and Mo praised the comfort and reusability of the design: fabulous to hear as there are plans to produce more shields using our supplies of materials, with discussions underway to potentially get some of these to local care homes. 

With phrases like “self-isolation”, “lockdown” and “social distancing” currently dominating our everyday vocabulary, working and thinking as a community has never been more important.