Supporting the NHS with high-spec visors

Published: 19th May 2020

Published by City College Southampton

Our Associate Teacher in Engineering, Dmitrijus Sluka, has worked above and beyond in his spare time to make high-quality face masks to supply the NHS with the vital Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they so desperately need. He has already made over 100 masks with another 100 currently in production.

Dmitrijus was originally contacted by an NHS worker looking to purchase one of his 3D printers to produce face shields due to the huge shortage of PPE. He said: “I offered to help them make the masks as I have a background in 3D printing, I worked with a colleague, Dominik Dycewicz, to create our own design and to offer our 3D printing knowledge to others.”

Having sourced a sample of 500 micron PVC material used for boat windows through local boat supplier Kayospruce, Dmitrijus identified that at this micron the shields are much stronger and better fit for purpose. He added: “while working on the best design with the most effective materials it was great that so many local companies have been willing to supply samples and support this project. It’s been wonderful to see the community come together to help our NHS.”

As both are still employed full time and each mask can take several hours to print, the pair have focused on making fewer shields but at the highest quality possible. Their masks are stronger, with more adjustability and protection, which is why they chose to use the custom cut 500 micron shield visor compared to 120-240 micron typically used for this application. The quest for quality has led to them finding a superior solution for the visor and then focusing on sharing that knowledge with others in the hope they can apply this improvement to their own designs. 

Dmitrijus worked with Keep Them Safe (South Hampshire), a community group helping to protect frontline medical professionals through this pandemic. The group has also allowed Dmitrijus to focus on his designs and forward larger scale requests to the group who can easily fulfil the order quickly. Last weekend also saw a small batch of the team’s face masks go out to a local Amazon Warehouse in Southampton.

Dimitrijus added: “In addition to keeping key workers safe during the coronavirus pandemic, this has been a brilliant and meaningful example of innovation and a flexible design and technology solution that I can share with my engineering students at City College.”

RJ a scrub nurse at the hospital added that “The face shield that Dmitrijus provided us were very comfortable as it is easily adjusted. Most of the other face shields we had were hard to wear for a long period of time. I reached out after seeing his ad on Facebook and I’m so glad I did.”

Keep up the great work!