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GSAL team makes masks for frontline NHS workers

Wednesday 13 May 2020

We are up to 3,250 visors and counting…that’s the total number produced so far for frontline healthcare workers by GSAL’s head of design technology, John Bagshaw, and his team of students and colleagues.

Although student projects at GSAL are on hold for the time being, the DT workshop is open for business during the coronavirus outbreak.

The workshop’s 3D printers are working at full stretch as John and a dedicated team of helpers respond to the demand for vital personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep healthcare workers safe.

In the first four weeks of lockdown, a staggering 2000 masks were donated with orders still pouring in. The rate of production was made possible when John sourced a new design that could be made more quickly on the laser cutter and increased production to around 100 masks a day.

He said: “The masks go as quickly as I can make them. It’s all hands on deck, with colleagues giving their time to help out in between their remote teaching sessions with students.”

Also lending a hand are a number of GSAL pupils, as well as students and staff from partner schools, Ralph Thoresby and Lawnswood Schools in Leeds and Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley.

GSAL is one of a number of schools throughout the country to answer the call after news reports highlighted the difficulties faced by hospitals, GPs and other care providers in sourcing PPE for their key workers.

The 3D printers and laser cutters are being used to make visors from materials that many schools already have in stock for DT projects that can’t now be completed. The basic design uses PETg or ABS filament and elastic to make a headband to which an acetate or PET sheet is attached as a face shield.

With many healthcare professionals among the school’s parents and alumni, the school is already handling all the orders it can fulfil simply through word of mouth. And as fast as the orders go out, the thanks come rolling in.

In fact hundreds of words of thanks have been received from GPs, surgeons, nurses, police, carers, hospitals and care homes. Many, including parents, staff, students and alumni, have also posted their thanks on Facebook.

GSAL also donated over 330 pairs of protective goggles, normally used in science and design technology lessons, to hospitals and health centres.

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