THE people of Redditch have rallied round to help a local engineer ramp up production of vital visors for health care workers.
Redditch Repair Cafe veteran Ken McMullan had turned his 3-D printer hobby to producing visor mounts during the coronavirus outbreak.
It takes about an hour to turn out one visor and as demand increased former Repair Cafe colleague Mike Rouse, now a Borough Councillor, came across what Ken was doing and knew exactly what to do.
“He saw what I was doing, realised the need for more printers and started raising funds,” said Ken, From Webheath.
Through Coun Rouse Support Redditch Emergency Network launched a fundraising drive on Good Friday hoping to raise £1,200 for new 3-D printers and materials and by the following Tuesday they’d smashed that to reach £1,491.50.
Two new 3-D printers arrived this Thursday, April 16, to boost supplies to local health care providers and care homes both locally and further afield.
Coun Rouse said: “The response has been fantastic. It was totally organic too. I just put the appeal out there to see how much we could raise and the response was brilliant.
“The other thing the bulk of the money came in from small donations. We had one of £300 but broadly they were in the range of £5 to £30 so the people of Redditch have really thrown themselves into this with their generosity.”
There has been one problem though – the price of the raw material – 1.75mm PLA 3D printing filament – has rocketed, soaring from £3 a litre to £25 a litre on websites like Amazon.
“We desperately need 1.75mm PLA 3D printing filament to keep production going,” said Coun Rouse.
“We can’t seem to get it delivered quickly enough, so we’re calling on any hobbyists or industry with spare supply, even part used rolls, to consider donating to us.”
Donations of filament can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements. Hobbyists can also use this address to apply for an emergency small grant to help with materials and haberdashery costs.
The scheme mirrors the one reported by the Redditch Standard last week where another local engineer, Mike Lowe, has been producing visors.
The 3D printers granted by Support Redditch will also be donated to local schools once the pandemic crisis is over, greatly boosting local engineering capacity.
For more on Support Redditch Emergency Network visit: https://supportredditch.net/