Art and Design tutors at Goldsmiths, University of London have joined forces with a volunteer network of UK engineers, doctors and designers to manufacture and distribute in-demand protective equipment for NHS staff.
Practice tutors are collaborating with Helpful Engineering, a group of more than 4,000 people working on Covid-19 related projects, including an open source solution to produce full face visors for frontline health and social care staff in local hospitals.
The team, from the Department of Art, Department of Design and Department of Computing are combining skills and equipment to manufacture an open source visor design in large quantities, with staff from all departments doing shifts on campus and using 3D printers in their homes.
Importantly, the visors – designed by Kitronik - can be sanitised and reused, reducing demand on congested production channels.
Using Goldsmiths’ laser cutters, 3D printers and large-format printers, volunteers are working on campus in the university’s studios, while keeping strictly to social distancing rules. Production of products began on Tuesday 21 April.
The team are now raising funds for the materials which are required to produce the face shields: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/goldsmiths-art-and-design-making-ppe-for-nhs
Project lead Rhi Jean, Practice Tutor in Sculpture (Woodwork) in the Department of Art said: “By our calculations we can produce a minimum of 4,000 visors a week using the equipment we have available.”
Ivan Coleman, Head of Art Practice, said: “Small-scale PPE production lines across the UK are collectively contributing a huge number of products to our care homes and hospitals. These projects and local fundraising efforts have something of the ‘small boats of Dunkirk’ about them.”
Visors produced through the Helpful Engineering project have already been distributed to 10 London hospitals. Goldsmiths’ products will supply local hospitals in Lewisham and Greenwich and King’s College Hospital in Camberwell.
During the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a critical shortage of many PPE items, and new sources for the production and distribution of these items sought in the UK and overseas.
Staff in the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths are also involved in another ‘DIY PPE’ campaign, creating hundreds of face guards in their kitchens using the College’s 3D printers.