Responding to call for more PPE.

During these difficult times our brilliant School of Architecture and Design staff aren’t just delivering innovative new ways of teaching and attending endless Teams meetings, they are responding to the PPE crisis.

Following an urgent request from the South East Coast Ambulance Service SECAMBS for 25 face shields, James Tooze, Product Design Course Leader from the School of Architecture and Design, put together a team of colleagues to take on the project. Working remotely over a few days, the team put a plan together to regain access to University facilities and tested out making and using a range of open-source designs developed by an online community already making visors both in the UK and internationally.

From field testing with SECAMBS it was clear that while 3D printing was a viable method to make the parts required it was a slow process; a laser cut version would be much faster to produce, be more durable, and importantly easily cleanable. Materials such as polypropylene sheets, clear Perspex and photocopying acetate sheets were gathered up from university stores and the Student Union shop and brought to the workshops at Mithras House. The UoB team modified plans for a laser cut face shield design published by Dominic Morrow and Nottinghack, designed by Sean Drummond and Kitronik, to suit the materials and equipment available and to speed up production.

So far, 100 face shield headbands and 250 visors have been delivered to SECAMBS, allowing each paramedic to have at least one cleanable headband and 2 cleanable visors. 350 face shields and 650 visors have also been delivered to the Royal Sussex Hospital on request by staff who are in constant need for PPE. More requests are coming in and the team are keen to make more as soon as possible. Face shields from the initial run are currently in use and the team will incorporate feedback into the next batch.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted public life in the UK, university and maker communities have responded to the crisis. There are numerous examples of teams from diverse disciplines doing all they can to contribute to the national effort against the outbreak. There are multiple designs out there, openly shared online, using many methods to make. Ultimately, we have responded to an immediate need and have used the resources available to us.

The UoB team are now looking to access additional materials within the University as well as obtain more stock to increase production. The team are also looking at what other items of PPE can be made with University facilities. To be able to continue with production we need:

  • 8 mm to 1.5mm clear plastic sheets for A4 visors (210 x 300mm)
  • A4 or A3 clear acetate sheets
  • 5 mm to 1.2mm polypropylene sheet A2 or larger
  • 4mm to 8mm wide Elastic cord

If you have access to any of these materials, please contact James Tooze ( or Glenn Longden-Thurgood (