The owner of an events electrics firm switched his attention to making visors for those fighting coronavirus after seeing his own work dry up.
Jim Verner, who owns Location Electrics in Craigavon, started manufacturing the equipment at home after realising he could make them on a 3D printer he had bought to help produce stage sets.
After making a few, he got the impression from news reports that such equipment was there for those who needed it. “I decided I’d put a post on social media to say they were available, expecting perhaps 20 or 30 at most to go to the local pharmacy, doctors’ surgery and shops,” he says.
“Within an hour the post had gone viral, and the messaging app was crashing as requests were coming in quicker than I could respond to them.”
He took the decision to set up a crowdfunding page, which enabled him to buy a further four printers, giving him the ability to produce around 40 visors in a day. “This may not seem like a lot but there was one key difference – they were reusable,” he says.
Jim manufactured more than 500 visors, donated free of charge to institutions in Northern Ireland, including The City Hospital Belfast, The Ulster Hospital, Craigavon Area Hospital, St. Johns Ambulance, South Tyrone Hospital and the Royal Maternity Jubilee Services Belfast. “There were also many community nursing teams, several nursing homes and ‘at risk’ individuals,” adds Jim.
He’s all too aware that it may take some time before his business of supplying power distribution and audio/visual services to outdoor events is back up and running, and is looking at how he can offer 3D printing services to businesses and individuals. “We will all be looking out at a very different world,” he says. “But there is no doubt FDM (fused deposition modelling) manufacturing has come of age.”