Lir Academy Staff Member Creates Medical Visors using 3D Technology Sponsored by CraftUnique

In-house Technician and graduate on the MFA Stage Design, Bill Woodland has signed onto a programme to help create visors for medical staff using The Lir Academy's CraftUnique 3D printer.

Bill found out that a company called Benchspace was gathering volunteers who had 3D printers to help create face shields holders to be distributed to hospitals around the country through the HSE. He had brought home one of The Lir Academy's CraftUnique 3D printers in order to maintain it and perfect his technique for teaching purposes and thought it could be put to very good use by creating much needed protective equipment for our health care workers: "I searched for the Benchspace PPE project online, found their sign up form, and filled in my info. I had an email response from them within a few hours saying that they were finalising the design of a new face shield that day, so to hold tight until then.The following morning, I had an email from them with instructions on how to claim batches of print jobs and then what to do once they're done". If you want to get involved with Benchspace's visor printing project, you can find out how to do it here.

Each batch is 10 visors, to be printed as solidly as possible. Once you have 30 printed (3 batches), Benchspace arranges a courier to pick them up to be sterilised and distributed, and also they will replace any filament that you have used in the process. They also provide a support chat for general questions and production help for those doing the work. Benchspace also stresses quality, not quantity, as they want to provide top PPE to doctors and nurses! So you are only required to print as fast as you are able to while maintaining a high standard.

The visors themselves are flexible laterally to go around the head, with the loops at the back for careful and sterile handling. The four small nubs line up with a standard 4-hole punch, which is used with a piece of acetate to make up the shield. The rounded, forward facing pegs on the side are to hold in.

"I'm able to print off about 1 visor per hour, and I'm arranging a pick up soon for my first 5 batches."

The work has provided a stimulating and fulfilling outlet for Bill, who like all the other Lir Academy staff is working from home: "It has been wonderful to be a part of this community project. I have been able to apply the skills and resources available through my theatre work and background in a way that helps those working on the front lines of the pandemic and it has been an extremely rewarding process! It is incredible to see people from so many walks of life come together, organise, and pool our resources to support front line health workers."

This vital assistance in our creation of PPE for frontline workers would not be possible without the generous inkind sponsorship of this 3D printer via our technical partner CraftUnique, based in the UK. We look forward to rolling-out face-to-face training with Craftunique once working arrangements resume to normality. For now, please see for more information on CraftUnique's technology and services.