Since the end of March, Dolgellau campus IT lecturer Dave Bowen has been making face shields using a 3D printer and then distributing them to hospitals, doctors' surgeries, care homes, and individual care workers across the UK.

Dave Bowen teaches BTEC ICT Level 2 and 3 at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor's Dolgellau campus. Students on his Level 3 course can learn the stages leading up to designing and creating 3D designs ready to be printed in the "2D and 3D Graphics" module.

Over the last few months, 3D printing has proved to be extremely important in creating essential PPE items to protect key workers, demonstrating just how important these skills are today. Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor has recognised the importance of this operation and has donated several reels of filament to Dave in order to keep making face shields. The college is committed to moving forward with the latest technology and recognises the growing importance of 3D printing, now more than ever.

Dave, along with his wife Sue, started making face shields in March, with just one printer sending masks locally. However, demand for their masks grew, forcing them to upscale, and the Dolgellau lecturer acquired the use of six more 3D printers with the help of friends Chris, Joanne, and Owen Parton. Dave then raised awareness of the availability of these face shields by promoting them on Facebook.

They work as a team, with Dave overseeing all 3D printing and Sue being responsible for preparing and packaging items. All components, including headbands, visors, straps, information sheets, and packing slips are carefully prepared and packaged in fully-sanitised conditions. They are double-bagged and whenever possible left for 72 hours before being despatched. To date, the team has made and distributed 1775 face shields. Dave raised awareness of the availability of these face shields by promoting them on Facebook.

Until this month, demand for these face shields was high and increasing every day. However, in the last few weeks, Dave has seen a change in the requests for masks. He said,

Initially we were supplying hospitals, doctors' practices, care homes, and care workers, all over southern Gwynedd but also further afield including the West Midlands, Dorset, and Essex. We have even been supplying the COVID-19 ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd. More recently we have been receiving requests from dentists, hairdressers, and many other people and businesses preparing to re-open or go back to work. All in all, we have had 144 requests for a total of 1775 face shields, our largest batch being 150 for Cyngor Gwynedd care homes and care workers.

Dave added that this was definitely a team effort, and thanked everyone who has been involved and who donated to the cause. He continued,

Thank you to our group of volunteer delivery drivers, and of course all of the generous members of our amazing community who have donated over £5000 to fund the operation.

To find out more about the face shields, visit Dave's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/dave.aberdyfi

For more information about IT courses available at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, visit www.gllm.ac.uk/computing.