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‘They are on 24 hours a day’ - Norwich man 3D printing PPE for frontline NHS staff

PUBLISHED: 17:20 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 19:12 02 April 2020

Colin Breckons has been making the face shields using his 3D printers and is giving them away free to NHS and other key workers. Picture: Colin Breckons

Colin Breckons has been making the face shields using his 3D printers and is giving them away free to NHS and other key workers. Picture: Colin Breckons

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A Norwich man is working round the clock to make face shields to protect frontline and key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Colin Breckons has been making the face shields using his 3D printers and is giving them away free to NHS and other key workers. Picture: Colin BreckonsColin Breckons has been making the face shields using his 3D printers and is giving them away free to NHS and other key workers. Picture: Colin Breckons

Colin Breckons has been making the shields on his 3D printers for the last fortnight and hopes to continue supporting his community, if he can source the materials to make the masks.

The 34-year-old first began making “save grabbers” to use to push buttons and open doors before moving to create personal protective equipment (PPE).

He has been inundated with requests and says there is a struggle to find the plastic needed for the visors, of which he aims to make at least 2,000.

Read more: Doctor’s plea for snorkelling mask exposes lack of coronavirus protection

He says he plans to keep making as long as he can source and fund materials due to growing demand and has set up a crowdfunding page to raise £3,000 purchasing filaments for shield frames and supports, elastic and acetate panels for visors and sterile wipes.

Colin Breckons has been making the face shields using his 3D printers and is giving them away free to NHS and other key workers. Picture: Colin BreckonsColin Breckons has been making the face shields using his 3D printers and is giving them away free to NHS and other key workers. Picture: Colin Breckons

The dad-of-six says he has received support online and in the community, receiving a £300 cheque from the Masonic Lodge towards buying materials.

Any additional funds would cover the cost of purchasing more 3D printers to increase the amount of visors that can be produced, as two of his printers have broken.

Mr Breckons said he has taken measures to shave his beard off to ensure sterility when making the masks.

Read more: Norwich man’s fundraiser to donate supplies to NHS workers

He said: “It’s a small sacrifice [to shave my beard].

Colin Breckons has been making the face shields using his 3D printers and is giving them away free to NHS and other key workers. Picture: Colin BreckonsColin Breckons has been making the face shields using his 3D printers and is giving them away free to NHS and other key workers. Picture: Colin Breckons

“It is essential we keep these people safe. Not only do they deserve to be looked after, but unless we keep them safe and protected we will soon find we have a shortage of them as well, as they take time off to recover from this illness.”

He added if anyone had access to a 3D printer, he could share the files to allow them to download the templates for the masks.

Mr Breckons, said: “It’s nice that a hobby can do something really good.

“If people have a 3D printer I can share the plans and we can get everyone making more and more. The printers have never worked as much as they have in the last two weeks. They are on 24 hours [a day]. I am sleeping shifts downstairs to be able to reset the printers in time, if I do not I am not able to make as many in a day.”

Colin Breckons has been making the face shields using his 3D printers and is giving them away free to NHS and other key workers. Picture: Colin BreckonsColin Breckons has been making the face shields using his 3D printers and is giving them away free to NHS and other key workers. Picture: Colin Breckons

If you want to find out more, click here to go to the crowdfunding page

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