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FabLab Devon answers the NHS call for PPE

Posted on: 3 April 2020

FabLab Devon has answered the call for urgently needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required by all NHS frontline staff.

Last week, the NHS in Devon wrote to businesses and organisations across the county encouraging them to share PPE to bolster the national supplies that are being delivered to the area.

FabLab Devon, part of Libraries Unlimited, the charity which runs Devon’s libraries on behalf of Devon County Council, is using 3D printers to produce visor parts and reinforcements as part of a volunteer group led by Dr Rupa Chilvers, of Exeter based company Tangerine Bee.

The first batch of visor attachments have been collected today and are being dispatched to NHS staff in the local area.

They will also be used by Devon County Council’s social care staff as they continue essential frontline work.

FabLab Devon is based in both Exeter and Barnstaple library and is a small-scale digital making workshop offering digital fabrication facilities. It’s an open access, not-for-profit, community resource where anybody can invent and make just about anything.

Marcus Brown, FabLab Exeter Digital Making Tutor, said: “It’s been a very busy weekend.  Our base at Exeter Library is currently closed so I collected the 3D printers on Friday in order to set up a home production unit. I have printed non-stop since Friday including printing overnight.”

“We know time is of the essence, so we are working around the clock to produce these visors for frontline staff.  There are more orders coming in so our home production unit will continue to be busy.”

Steve Turner, Head of Commercial & Innovation at Libraries Unlimited said: “Our physical libraries may be closed but I am inspired by the creative projects our library staff are developing and delivering.  We are finding new ways to help our local communities and this FabLab initiative is an excellent example of how libraries can support others.”

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We are pleased that FabLab is doing all it can to help the NHS acquire essential PPE during the coronavirus outbreak. It is an excellent resource to have and undoubtedly the equipment that they are producing will be vital to the important work that is being done across the county.”

The FabLab is seeking supporters to enable its work to  continue. If you are interested in supporting the work of the FabLab, please do contact us.

To find out more about FabLab Devon visit the FabLab website and to contact Marcus Brown please email marcus.brown@librariesunlimited.org.uk.

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