A Scottish teacher has been using his school's 3D printer to make headgear to help stop staff in a local hospital getting coronavirus.
Stephen Stewart – who is a computing teacher and head of the computing science, business and digital technology faculty at Lochaber High in the Highlands – was approached by a consultant from nearby Belford Hospital yesterday morning after the doctor heard the school had a 3D printer. The consultant asked Mr Stewart to use the printer to create safety visors for the hospital staff.
Mr Stewart told Tes Scotland that he spent most of yesterday prototyping designs and that so far he had made five visors, which he had dropped into the hospital this afternoon. The hospital staff were "delighted", said Mr Stewart.
He added: "They have asked me to keep on printing for just now in the hope they get increased PPE [personal protective equipment] delivered ASAP. I'll keep printing until I'm told they are not required.
"It took a few hours to perfect it. There are other designs and people out there doing similar stuff so I just tweaked a design for our school printer. It takes about two hours to print one currently but I am hoping to speed this up now the design has been perfected."
Yesterday I got a phone call from a consultant in the Belford Hospital. They heard @LochaberHigh have a 3D printer and they are in need of visors for medical staff. After a few prototypes I am now printing these for our NHS! @KateForbesMSP @Ianblackford_MP @NickyGrant10 pic.twitter.com/zOvVoCQlig— Stephen Stewart // Smart School 🤓 (@Stephen_THC) March 25, 2020
Revealing his unusual commission this morning on Twitter, Mr Stewart said: “Yesterday I got a phone call from a consultant in the Belford Hospital. They heard @LochaberHigh have a 3D printer and they are in need of visors for medical staff. After a few prototypes, I am now printing these for our NHS!"
The tweet sparked a flood of positive comments, as well as offers of help – and 3D printers – from all over Scotland. Also keen to put her 3D printer to good use was the headteacher of nearby primary school Lundavra Primary, in Fort William.
There was a big reaction to Mr Stewart's endeavours, with other schools saying they were inspired to do something similar and others seemingly having also already started producing equipment for NHS staff. They included Newbattle High in Midlothian and Larbert High in Falkirk.
Meanwhile, Education Scotland chief executive Gayle Gorman tweeted about what Mr Stewart was doing and said she had been "blown away by the way Scotland is working as a team".
Following her tweet, many schools and colleges got in touch to offer help or find out more. She advised anyone who wanted to help to email Covid19response@gov.scot
There’s lots of brilliant, creative online learning taking place @LarbertHigh - but @JohnSwinney & @NicolaSturgeon look at this 👇 - our 3D printer is being put to very good use! Any other @falkirkcouncil Secondaries able to assist? @Angus4FalkirkE @CSCommsFalkirk https://t.co/UuVWuL60Q5— Larbert High School (@LarbertHigh) March 25, 2020
Since posting this I have has many schools and colleges get in touch to offer help or find out more - anyone wanting to help please contact 👇Covid19response@gov.scot. https://t.co/CCQkY9fsnK— Gayle Gorman (@GayleGgorman) March 26, 2020