Student’s PPE manufacturing drive helping to equip local key workers

19 May 2020

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Student’s PPE manufacturing drive helping to equip local key workers

Brockenhurst College A Level student Oliver Shepherd has manufactured over £500 worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) at home for NHS staff, carers, and other essential workers.

The 16-year-old from Holbury set to work using THREE 3D printers after reading about well-documented PPE shortages potentially putting lives at risk.

Each item is free on request, which means Oliver has been working hard to keep up with demand.

So far, he has made 150 visors, plus 1,250 ear protectors that prevent masks from rubbing and causing discomfort and even skin abrasions.

He has also made door-opener and button-pusher devices, which mean workers do not have to touch commonly used surfaces.

The items, which all comply with the appropriate quality regulations, are now being used by workers across the health and social care sector locally.

Southampton General Hospital’s A&E, Mental Health Team and Radiology Department, as well as midwives at the Princess Anne Hospital, have all taken delivery of Oliver’s goods.

Meanwhile, Lymington Hospital, Oakhaven Hospice, Totton Community Response Team, various care homes and individual key workers have also benefitted.

Initially, Oliver funded the project himself, but has since established a crowdfunding page on JustGiving that has raked in £355, exceeding the teenager’s £250 target.

Oliver said: “There are no standards/regulations required for the ear protectors, but they are 3D-printed to a high quality and can be chemically sterilised.

“The face visors have not been approved for intensive care/critical care use because this is costly and impossible within the timeframe; however, they comply with less stringent regulations for carers and key workers.

“I have three 3D printers around the house that I have been using to make this PPE. I run a small online business making various items for reptiles and insects; however, I have had to temporarily stop doing that so the machines can make PPE.

“It is very difficult to calculate exactly the cost of the project due to electricity and machine wear and tear on top of the material costs, but it is definitely over £550 at the moment, and I am still making the items at maximum capacity.”

Donna Mudge, who is a Healthcare Assistant at Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington, said: “Oliver has been amazing in providing PPE for us at Oakhaven Hospice.

“He has donated ear protectors so our face masks don’t dig into our ears; he has also donated door openers/button pushers that can go on a keyring.

“He has been so helpful and checked back that we have enough stock and is more than happy for us to contact him again if we run low.

“For a 16-year-old, he is incredible for doing all of this free of charge.”

You can donate to keep Oliver’s production line going by visiting: