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From 3D printers to pop-up factory: Meet the volunteers building face shields for Scottish health workers


9 May 2020 at 9:00 am
Luke Michael
Edinburgh Shield Force have raised more than £34,000 (A$65,000) to keep workers safe


Luke Michael | 9 May 2020 at 9:00 am


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From 3D printers to pop-up factory: Meet the volunteers building face shields for Scottish health workers
9 May 2020 at 9:00 am

Edinburgh Shield Force have raised more than £34,000 (A$65,000) to keep workers safe

A grassroots volunteer initiative in Scotland is making 2,000 face shields a day for healthcare staff to remedy a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project started with a few product design professionals making low-tech face shields, which progressed to the use of 3D printers.

Within a month, Edinburgh Shield Force were able to open a pop-up factory backed by more than 200 volunteers.

Volunteers are now producing injection moulded face shields that protect against pathogen transfer, while liaising with the National Health Service (NHS) around design and functionality issues. 

The group has launched a crowdfunding page to support the project, which has raised more than £34,000 (A$65,000). 

“We are producing medical supplies to support healthcare workers in this time of need,” the page says.

“We have produced and delivered 23,000 so far and have a facility ready to produce 2,000 per day. We seek funding to defray our costs and allow us to produce face shields to deliver to hospitals and clinics all around Scotland.”

The factory makes three different types of face shields and the group are documenting the process so that similar groups are able to replicate the process around the world.

Costa Talalaev is director of prototyping company Maker-Bee, and has repurposed some of his 3D printers to make the face shields.

He told the PA news agency that designs for the face shields have evolved over time based on feedback from medics.

“One of the most important things for the face shields is that they have to be light. Doctors at the time had reusable face shields that were very heavy duty,” Talalaev said.

“They were so heavy – they said they much preferred the lighter design that we produced.”

Edinburgh Shield Force said they are now working to make barrier enclosures for intubation procedures. 


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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