Sixth Formers make 1000s of Face Visors for NHS staff

Sixth Formers Ben McIlveen and Bryn Barker are working together to manufacture personal protective equipment for our local NHS heroes.

The Sixth Form students, who are both highly rated science students and both live in Whaley Bridge, have already manufactured nearly 1000 face visors, with no intentions of slowing production while there is still demand for the PPE.

The idea was the brain child of Bryn Barker, who responded to his mum’s request for assistance. “It is clear that the NHS needs more PPE but that manufacturers were struggling to meet demand and I thought I could make a difference and knew Ben McIlveen had a 3D printer.”

Ben had bought the printer when he won an Arkwright Scholarship, awarded to encourage Britain’s top young engineers, so they set about sourcing a design from the Internet. Each working from their separate homes in Whaley Bridge, they found a design and then set up a Go Funding page to support their endeavours: gofundme.com/f/highpeakvisors

The response was immediate with £2600 soon raised by family, friends and the wider school community, which enabled them to buy another 3D printer, purchase the filament to manufacture the headbands and the acetate for the visors. They also gained a sponsor who supplied a third printer and are now looking to buy a fourth printer as they step up their efforts. Current production is around 100-140 units a day or around 700 units a week.

Ben said “It isn’t particularly labour intensive as the 3D printer does the work, but we have to set up the machines and then attach the acetate face visors and box them up for delivery.”

Bryn added: “We have given them to several local GP practices, care homes, Buxton C-19 Hub, Wythenshawe Hospital, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and some to The Christie in Manchester.”

Ben added: “They should be worn together with face masks and other PPE, but they do keep any spray off the face and have been warmly received.”

Bryn added: “We each spend a few hours every day working on the project, which supplements the home working programme we’ve had from King’s. It’s a shame to miss our schooling though we do seem to be getting through the work at home, but there are more important matters at the moment and we wanted to be part of the effort.”

That effort also includes the school’s staff. Mr Jeremy Nichols, Head of Design Technology at King’s, and who teaches Ben A Level DT,  has also put the school’s own 3D printers to good use since the shutdown started, so far manufacturing around 150 visors for Belong Care Home on Kennedy Ave in Macclesfield and for East Cheshire NHS Trust. 

Bryn Barker with one of the visors he and his friend Ben McIlveen have manufactured.