Great Britain

Student appeals for businesses to support homemade PPE venture

A TEENAGER Is using a home printer bought as a birthday present to produce personal protective equipment for frontline medical workers.

Harvey Ryder, 18, a former Hanson Academy pupil, has produced 1,500 visors, to help protect against Covid-19, for healthcare professionals working in hospitals, care homes, GP practices and pharmacies.

A student at Leeds University Technical College, Harvey is studying A-levels in maths, physics and double engineering and has been using his design and prototyping skills to work on the visors.

Harvey, who uses a friend’s 3D home printer and had access to facilities at UTC, which opened for a few hours each day to support the project, is calling out for Bradford firms to help with costs of continued production.

“The equipment we’re producing is to protect key workers from particles transmitted through coughs and sneezes and help to reduce their chance of infection,” said Harvey. “So far our deliveries have included Bradford Royal Infirmary, Huddersfield Royal, Leeds General Infirmary, Barkerend GP practice and care homes. But a real challenge is rocketing costs and demand for materials.

“Prices of A4 binder sheets have tripled due to problems with importing and shipping so we’ve needed to look for alternative materials. Sourcing A4 binder covers or any other PVC A4 sheets is a challenge, alongside printer filament. Medium-sized cardboard boxes would also be a great help for us with distribution.”

“If businesses could donate any of these supplies we can continue producing to help meet huge demand across the district.”

Harvey’s manufacturing process involves using the 3D printer to make the headband then attaching A4 sheets of clear plastic binder covers or laminating sheets to protect the face. “We started a Facebook group to handle orders and donations and soon found other Bradford residents with 3D printers wanted to help,” he said. “We initially raised around £700 on Facebook then the college allowed limited use of the premises to help with production.”

Harvey has been praised by business leaders and BIDs districtwide who, as part of a new drive to reinforce the rebuild process are sharing experiences and best practice using the hashtag #TogetherBradfordCan to spread positivity.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “Bradford is the UK’s youngest city and Harvey is a great example of our young entrepreneurs demonstrating, through this crisis, that ‘Together Bradford Can’.”

Sandy Needham, Chief Executive of Bradford Chamber of Commerce, added: “Harvey is a wonderful example of a new generation of designers, engineers and manufacturers who embrace today’s digital technology to innovate, produce and supply resources vital to the functionality of our region and the country. Bradford is home to 1,225 manufacturers and engineering businesses and together with organisations such as the University of Bradford and UTC Leeds, are educating, inspiring and facilitating a new era of production brilliance in our young people. This is why our very own Bradford Manufacturing Weeks is such an important initiative which encourages young people to look closely at the opportunities for a rewarding career right here on their doorstep. It’s important that we recognise and support young role models like Harvey as he represents the future of manufacturing and engineering in our district, our region and our country.”

Harvey, who has been offered a place at the University of Southampton to study Aeronautics and Astronautics before becoming a fast jet pilot for the RAF, added: “My motivation for printing PPE equipment was always to help key workers. What I didn’t expect was to inspire younger generations to consider a career in engineering! I’m so pleased we are genuinely making a difference to people who are working on the front line and that providing this service has unexpectedly helped to put engineering on the map by demonstrating that this industry is about problem solving and helping others – and in this instance, helping to keep people safe.”

Hannah Wilson, UTC Leeds principal, added: “Harvey is an exceptional student who will make a valuable and lifelong contribution to society and the engineering industry. We are extremely proud of his efforts to support key workers during this difficult time and we’re delighted that we can support him.”

* Go to Harvey’s Just Giving page or to donate materials contact [email protected]

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