Student doctors create PPE for frontline workers

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Photo of 3D visor

During the pandemic we've seen so much creativity from you all. Year 4 student doctors, James Barrie and Cora Marks have gotten creative with a 3D printer; creating PPE to #printforvictory. 

Year 4 student doctors James Barrie and Cora Marks, have been making and distributing face visors for free as supplementary Personal Protective Equipment for key workers. 

James has a personal 3D printer, and saw early on in the pandemic that people were using their printers to create various pieces of protective equipment. He found an online makers' community on YouTube which hosts resources around making PPE, with a variety of designs and approaches. It was when Cora came across the UK-based #printforvictory community that they found something that they could get involved with. 

The group were just starting out when the two student doctors found it, but they already had designs to print and systems in place to manage requests for PPE and allocate local volunteer suppliers and delivery drivers. 

James told us:

"Something I personally liked about the group was their face shields are designed to be both more comfortable for long periods, and provide better droplet protection than more common options that are quicker and cheaper to produce.

I think as Year 4s spending so much time in placement with healthcare professionals, and having many Year 5 friends going in to help in the middle of a crisis, it was very easy to empathise with healthcare workers and the risks they would be facing every day, crucially possibly without the appropriate protection!"

So we were aware of a need and had a solution sitting in the spare room, so that was all the inspiration we needed to get to work.

For both James and Cora, there has also been a social element and they have enjoyed forming a community with others creating PPE for key workers who have been available to provide them with support, advice, and improvements to their designs.

As he also had a personal interest, James designed the group's very own version of an ear saver, and ended up with a branded design which was much more efficient – taking half of the time and materials to print than the design that was previously in use. 

The pair found that there wasn't as much local demand for the equipment that they were printing, so Cora took the initiative and utilised the contacts that both student doctors had gained through the School of Medicine and their NHS placements, offering their services wherever they were needed.

Cora and James have now made around 85 face shields and 50 ear savers, and the community of 3D printer owners has doubled, with 870 members, all working to keep people protected from the virus however they can. 

Further information

#printforvictory are all around the country so, if you know anyone who needs PPE anywhere in the UK, should be able to provide locally or post. Visit the website for full details!