DT teacher invents laser-cut plastic visor for frontline London medics

A design technology teacher has invented a laser-cut plastic visor for use by frontline South London hospital medics and GPs.

Tom Wendes, 25, who has taught DT at independent Whitgift School in Croydon for two years and is experienced in 3D printing technology, was contacted by a GP parent of one of his pupils over the need for more  personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS healthcare workers.

He decided to spend new found free time due to school closures and remote learning to create a prototype of a visor medics could use while working with patients in both hospitals and the community.

Mr Wendes first made 3D printing visors, but the process took too long to produce at scale, so he also created his own “in-house design” using laser cutting.

He claims the visor can be flat-packed, assembled quickly, and see a visor produced in just minutes. After a week of work, the school submitted his fourth prototype to procurers at Croydon University Hospital, and within days the hospital responded to say it would take “as many visors as the school can make, as soon as possible”.

Mr Wendes explained the visor is an “in-house design that uses an acrylic laser cut headband, two elastic bands, and a PET visor made from a hole punched gloss laminator pouch”.

A GP and school parent has already collected and distributed 10 visors between a GP surgery and surgeon colleagues working in ophthalmology at another London hospital.

She said they will be used in both places, and said her “colleagues have been overwhelmed by the generous support”.

Elaine Clancy, Chief Nurse for Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, who is leading the Trust’s response to COVID-19 said:“We have been bowled over by the many kind gestures from people in Croydon, who have shown their support to the NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We have enough PPE from the regular NHS deliveries we receive, but we’ve also been donated some fantastic additional kit from local organisations like Whitgift School.

“These generous donations mean so much to our staff right now. Most importantly, we’d ask people to stay home to protect the NHS and save lives.”

Mr Wendes said: “ I am just happy to be able to use my skills to support the wonderful NHS in this time of crisis.”

Andy Marlow, Director of Partnerships and Community at the school, said:  “Mr Wendes has used his innovation and design skills to produce a simple, effective and easy to construct solution to the PPE shortage problem. He is a fantastic example of how members of the school community are pulling together to help out those in need.”


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