- Date 20 Apr 2020
North Cambridge Community Partnership COVID-19 Support to the NHS Project:
Dear partners and the scientific community,
We are living through a crisis, the likes of which none of us has experienced before; not since war time has the community spirit been more important and we must look out for one another during these very difficult times. This is why the NCCP as a charity and local umbrella community organisation, representing the health and wellbeing of the local community in the North of Cambridge, feels that this is a time not only for reflection but also for action by offering our technical volunteering service to those in need and to the most vulnerable. Therefore, we are seeking your support to help us provided the NHS with the PPE that it is in so much desperate need of. The NCCP would like to announce the launch of the NCCP COVID-19 Support to the NHS Project:
As you are aware under the present circumstances the NHS is unable to cope with the appropriate amount of PPE for NHS workers and supporting staff in care homes and this is why the NCCP management committee would like to make use of our technical expertise and knowledge, by offering our services to produce Prusa Style Masks that can be laser cut and also 3D Printed and in this way satisfy some of the local needs for PPE. We would like to propose two alternatives: Level 1 (lower level support) Level 2 (more realistic and effective level of support to satisfy some of the urgent needs our NHS is fighting for:
Level 1: Request of support to our local industry and to the scientific community – Science Park, Vodaphone, others:
Level 1: To get hold of the material so the protection masks can be produced at a batch process, low numbers to start with. The process in one 3D printer is 1 hour and 30 minutes per unit so it is time consuming, but it can be run by one of our technical volunteers on a constant production. To aim to produce as many as possible. When small batches of 20 units had been processed, they can be delivered to the NHS or local care homes, in desperate need of them.
Second-hand computers in good condition (two or three with mouse and keyboards)
Second hand unused 3D Printers, if available, they could also be provided on a short loan basis. We could make use of unused equipment that is hanging around in people’s offices with no proper use.
1: Plastic material for one laser cutter we have access to:
a. Clear PETG 2050 x 1250 x 1.5mm - £18.30 per sheet – we would like support to get 20 sheets = (20 x £18.30 = £366)
b. Clear Styrolux 2050 x 1250 x 1.5mm - £12.50 per sheet – we would like support to get 20 sheets = (20 x £12.50 = £250)
2: Woven Loom Elastic – 19mm (3/4”) 10 five metre rolls = £38.34
3: Filament for one 3D printer we got access to: PETG 3D Printer Filament, 1.75mm, Black, 1 kg Spool – we would like support to get 2 rolls = (2 x £18.99 = £37.98)
Total for support Level 1 = (£366 + £250 + £38,34 + £37.98) = £692.32
Note: In Level 1 support request proposal to our local industry and the scientific community, we are limited in what we can produce and the number of units we can deliver, this mean that the help is good but limited. We have been thinking that with a greater level of support we will be able to become more efficient and by doing so, maximise the help we can provide to the NHS in the current circumstances. Therefore, we have come up with an alternative and a more ambitious plan: The Level 2 Support:
Level 2: Request of support to our local industry and to the scientific community – Science Park, Vodaphone, others:
One of our facilities is shut down to the public, but it has the space to accommodate the creation of a temporary ‘Community Technology Centre’ to allow the NCCP to manufacture a bigger scale of PPE products. We could produce and deliver more masks and study the possibility of manufacturing some gowns or protective plastic gear. But in order to achieve these, we will need help by acquiring another 2/3 3D Printers, one or two laser cutters and 3 to 4 sewing machines. This will allow a group of technical volunteers to run a small but very effective technical factory that will really help satisfy some of the NHS needs in the county. But to think this big we need to be realistic and seek serious support from our local industry and from the scientific community.
One option that this encompasses is the possibility for some human, expert support and for some companies to be able to provide a person or two, to help us at a technical level. The help could be on the manufacturing front or technical advice using ZOOM or email.
Project costs for Level 2 support:
1: Plastic Material – Approved by the NHS: Clear PETG 2050 x 1250 x 1.5mm - £18.30 per sheet – we would like support to get 60 sheets = (60 x £18.30 = £1,098)
Clear Styrolux 2050 x 1250 x 1.5mm - £12.50 per sheet – we would like support to get 60 sheets = (60 x £12.50 = £750)
2: Woven Loom Elastic – 19mm (3/4”) 20 five metre rolls = £76,68
3: A decent and reliable Laser Cutter: Prices oscillate between 6K to 15k
4: 2/3 3D Printers good and reliable: Prices oscillate between 1K to 3k
5: Filament for one 3D printer we got access to: PETG 3D Printer Filament, 1.75mm, Black, 1 kg Spool – we would like support to get 4 rolls = (4 x £18.99 = £75.96)
Total for support Level 2 = (£ 1,098 + £750+ £76.68 + £75.96 + £15,000 + £3,000) = £20,000.64
The rationale behind this proposal:
The total estimate for the Level 2 Support proposal, can go slightly lower if cheaper machines are acquired. But my experience as a DT and engineering teacher is that we need to go for the good and reliable, as this is more cost effective in the long run, and it will improve not only the quality but the speed of production.
The NCCP is also looking sustainably at the projects we would like to plan and run, and in this way, looking beyond COVID-19, when we hopefully we will be back to normal. But this will take time in the present circumstances. A new Community Technology Centre will not only help us to contribute effectively to the NHS, but also to help us improve the local provision for post 16 in our local community. In other words, it will provide our young generation (girls and boys ages 16 to 19) with the tools and knowledge to succeed in life by taking engineering and technical vocational subject that will act as a transition to further education or employment. The statistics in terms of local provisions in our community is extremely poor, and the number of girls and boys in our community taking engineering is almost non-existent. This is something hard to come to terms with as we are part of Cambridge, and the Science Park is also part of our community delivering one of the highest levels of research in the whole world.
Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions to the proposed levels of support that your company(ies) would like to offer for the good of our community, county and nation. The NCCP would very much like for you to be part of this collaborative support project.
On Behalf of the NCCP Management Committee