geo staff join Cambridge makers to build face visors for NHS staff

Members of the geo Hardware and Innovations teams joined other likeminded Cambridge engineers and makers to create an initial 2,000 visors in less than a week at Makespace, a community workshop and makerspace in Cambridge.

Makespace Cambridge, which geo’s Adrian van den Heever is a Co-Director, responded to a request from Addenbrookes Hospital Clinical Engineering and Innovation team for help in providing urgently needed PPE to its clinicians.

With over 400 Makespace members, including geo’ s Sam Sykes (Chief Innovations Officer) and Giacomo Zanichelli (Hardware Engineer) and an extended network spanning 1000s of skilled individuals in the Cambridge and surrounding area, Makespace were able to quickly mobilise a group of volunteers and facilitate tackling the challenge.

The volunteer team choose a shield design created by Delve, Midwest Prototyping and University of Wisconsin-Madison Makerspace which is made of just three materials; elastic, foam and plastic. They created a clinical manufacturing standard operating procedure (SOP) and set up a manufacturing environment at Makespace with a restricted number of volunteers (observing necessary Covid-19 transmission prevention protocols) to manufacture the visors.

Makespace volunteers started designing the manufacturing process on Sunday (March 29) with production starting the following Tuesday – three days later they had made 1,000 visors using Makespace equipment, which ranges from sewing machines to laser cutters.

The geo team provided skills and manpower in the manufacturing process, with Sam assembling around 600 visors and Giacomo safely packing and recording visors for distribution, a critical part in the manufacturing process to enable individual boxes to be recalled in case any volunteer reports they are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

The Makespace selected design and SOP is now being used at multiple manufacturing sites to create visors that are approved for use at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.  The documentation is available for download, with the SOP made available under a Creative Commons Attribution license.  This  allows others replicate the manufacture of visors wherever they are required in the world.  Details of the process can be found on the Makespace website.

You can read more on the efforts of the Makespace team on the Cambridge News website or keep up to date through the Makespace Cambridge website.