Organisations across the country are powering up their 3D printers to protect key workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
TechResort has joined the fight too. We’ve bought six new 3D printers – called Sulu, Chekhov, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty – and established a new printer farm at East Sussex College in Eastbourne. Our existing two printers – Crusher and Troi – are busy turning out visors in one of our directors’ homes.
What we’re making
If you’re new to 3D printing, this brilliant video explains what the printers are and how they work. We also talked about the project at the recent Leeds Digital Festival, and you can watch a recording.
We’re currently making two types of face shields, called Prusa and Verkstan. The Prusa type takes around two hours to print. It’s robust and includes an elastic size adjusting strap. The Verkstan type takes about an hour, but isn’t as sturdy as the Prusa.
Professional manufacturers make medical visors in a sterile environment. We’re not able to match that, but we’re aiming to keep our working spaces as clean as possible.
Shields printed so far
We’ve dispatched around 295 Prusa shields, and 855 Verkstan (7 May). These have gone to GP practices, care homes, community medical teams and street wardens. We’re regularly dispatching 120 shields a day and these numbers are increasing all the time.
If you need face shields, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help you.
Covering our costs
TechResort has always been not-for-profit. We founded in 2013 to make Eastbourne a better place for creative young people and businesses. Our status as a Community Interest Company means our assets are locked, and can only be used for community purposes.
We’ve been able to pay for the new printers and materials from Company savings – around £5000 so far – supported by 350 hours of volunteer time. Ideally we’d like to recoup some of our costs so, once the crisis is over, we can get back to sharing tech skills with the town’s young people.
Many of you have asked us if we’re accepting cash donations to cover these efforts. We are, and they would be very welcome!
If there’s any money left over we’ll put half into our after school clubs so they can be kept as affordable as possible. The rest will be donated to Eastbourne Foodbank.
Pulling together as a town
We’re one of the groups in town doing this. Hats off to Rob, Chris, Tim, Harry, Caroline and more in the Eastbourne Makers Facebook group for their sterling efforts!
We’re supported as always by our small army of TechResort Elves, people giving up their time and skills for the good of all.
It’s times like this when you realise how lucky we are to be living in this great town, with such talented people in it.
A note from the directors of TechResort
Our 3D printer farm is about far more than six new fancy machines. Rapid prototyping and small scale production is possible because of people who know how to use a range of machines and tools.
The tools are physical and digital, ranging from basic computer software to everyday items such as hole punches. Miles is quickly becoming a dab hand at punching acetate sheets for visors!
TechResort is well placed to pick up this project because we have kit, consumables and skills ready to hand. We also know how to download and install Star Trek fonts. We have magnetic tape to attach signs… and we’re not afraid to use it!
When this time of aggravation and stress is behind us, we’d really like more people to join us to become Makers. Once you start, it’s pretty hard to stop!
We also hope that, once we’re through this stage of the pandemic, government will start to recognise that creative and digital skills allow us to bridge short-term problems while long term solutions are put in place.
Thanks for your support at this tough time. We hope you’re all safe, and are looked after.
Liz, Sam, Miles, Nick and Will