Council officer makes PPE on 3D printer at home

Dan Clover with PPE visors made on his 3D printer
Dan Clover with PPE visors made on his 3D printer

A Mansfield District Council officer is doing his bit to support during the corona virus crisis by making plastic visors and door openers using his own 3D printer.

Dan Clover, who has worked in the council's Design Services team as Quantity Surveyor for nearly five years, is hoping his home-made  PPE (personal protective equipment) will be able to help frontline workers, such as care home staff and pharmacists, as well as council housing and housing repairs colleagues, who may have contact with people suffering from Covid-19.

Some of the visors have already been delivered to nurses at King's Mill Hospital, with another 200 on order for various organisations.

The 34-year-old, from Mansfield Woodhouse, said: "I hope they will help those people on the frontline who are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk.

"Everyone at the council and in the community is doing their bit during this difficult time and I’m just glad I can contribute, not only with my day-to-day job with the council, but also as a resident of Mansfield, by providing these pieces of equipment." 

Dan bought the 3D printer a couple of months ago as part of a personal venture to create a prototype for an invention he has designed and is seeking to patent around preventing misfuelling at petrol stations.

He said: "That project has now been put on hold to help with the corona virus effort. I only started 3D printing around a month ago and have joined various online communities to help me learn how to do it. 

"I saw that people from other countries affected by the virus were printing various types of door opening devices so I reviewed all of the designs and, using my knowledge of design and of drawing software, I came up with my own models and started printing. 

"It was a bit trial and error. I initially made them too small and thin, which made them too brittle to open heavy duty fire doors, but the final design seems to have gone down well with the council staff. I made around 60 for colleagues to use.

For the visors, Dan got in touch with staff at Vision West Notts College and teachers at Samworth Academy in Mansfield who have been using the college's and school’s 3D printers to make visors, too. The staff at Samworth have now shared their designs with Dan with a view to simplifying the design to reduce the 1.5 hours it takes to print them.

They cost about 70p to £1 each to make using 3D printer filament bought online. Dan is funding this himself but is hoping to get help with donations from the council and council staff.

Jill Finnesey, Head of Housing at the council, said: “Dan’s been a star and we are all so impressed with his skills and proud of his contribution. His equipment has been a great help and a big reassurance to his colleagues. The council is working hard to ensure that all our frontline staff have adequate and appropriate PPE during this crisis as staff safety is of paramount concern.”

Dan added: "I will carry on making this PPE for as long as it is needed. Let's all hope that won't be for too long."

If you require visors or door openers, please contact Dan via the Mansfield, Nottinghamshire Coronavirus (Covid-19) Mutual Aid Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/599614573923370/ (opens in new window).

Businesses which can donate PPE towards the PPE4NHS campaign can also find out more at http://www.d2n2lep.org/PPE4NHS (opens in new window).

Published: April 8th 2020