Man turns 3D printing hobby into protective mask production line

A man who has a 3D printing hobby has been inundated with requests from care homes and his local hospital after he starting churning out protective masks for front-line workers.

Sid Lovatt said he was at home in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, after he was furloughed from his job in the retail sector when he became aware that 3D printing enthusiasts in other countries were producing the much-needed pieces of kit.

Since he started producing the visors last week, he has had requests from care homes, GP surgeries and even his local hospital ward.

Mr Lovatt said he has had vulnerable community nurses ring him to say they are treating ill patients with only paper masks, disposable aprons and gloves, but no visors.

Sid Lovatt with his 3D-printed protective mask that he has been supplying to frontline workers
Sid Lovatt with his 3D-printed protective mask that he has been supplying to frontline workers (Danny Lawson/PA)

He said the “simple but genius” Swedish design covers the whole face and uses A4 ring binder covers which fit on to the 3D printed band, using the punched holes.

“I just thought I would put my hobby to some use and it’s blown up,” Mr Lovatt said.

“It’s absolutely mental. My phone hasn’t stopped.”

Mr Lovatt said he has already produced 90 of the masks, which take 38 minutes to print.

He says he can currently print 20 a day and is buying more machines.

He also said he has been inundated with offers of help, including from companies who can supply materials as well as other 3D printing enthusiasts around the country.

Mr Lovatt said he has received £800 in donations, which is enough to manufacture thousands of masks.

He said a community has developed on Facebook to co-ordinate the donation of much-needed equipment to healthcare workers which will reduce the number of people visiting vulnerable sites, including the hospital.

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