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Coping With Lockdown

Local People 3D Print Masks for NHS!

Local 3D printing community prints thousands of masks for the NHS and health workers.



As I write this I’m sitting in my garden trying to grab 5 minutes to myself. The last 5 days have been absolutely manic so I’ll start from the beginning.

While Coronavirus has been infecting thousands of people around the world the 3D printing community has been coming up with ways to help. After all, we are tinkerers at heart.

Joseph Prusa is based in the Czech republic and owns his own 3D printer company. What’s special about him is everything he does he shares, makes it all open source. His printers are truly some of the best in the world.

So in true fashion, he stopped producing filament and asked his chemists to produce hand sanitiser instead. All for free. Then he turned to PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). He looked at face masks but decided they needed to be of an acceptable professional level that many hobbyist 3D printers can’t manage. So instead he turned to full face visors. In conjunction with the Czech Health Department he designed, re-designed and finally released it to the public. The man is an absolute legend.

I decided to have a go printing one so ordered all the parts to make up 5. While printing a friend, “Doc”, messaged and asked me if I was able to make any. Long and short of it, hospitals are really short of PPE. Obviously I said yes and started looking into ramping up production. The Prusa face mask is good… but it takes 5 hours to print. I couldn’t possibly hope to help anyone with print times like that. The maker community didn’t let me down. Already. designs were being tested in NHS hospitals so I messaged a few people and got involved. Now I’m down to 1 and a half hours and construction is easy.

Next thing to decide was how many to do. I looked at my bank account and could afford to do around 150. £0.57p each was the cost to me. The next stage is where it goes completely crazy: I shared a BBC article about how printers are trying to help make bits for the NHS and people instantly wanted to help and asked for a GoFundMe page. Blown away doesn’t cover it! Over £1000 in 24 hours. Currently it’s sitting at around £7000 and today I’ve received news that I’ve been accepted for a grant from the Felixstowe Relief Charity for £1000 to buy more printers and materials. Amazing!

I want to be clear, I’m not doing this on my own. I’ve got 12 people printing the frames, 50% of them are local. So many people have asked if they can help build up the finished shields. It turned into a massive community project with nearly 1000 “orders” to receive some. Some ask for 6 or 20 and others like Ipswich Hospital have asked for hundreds. It’s a massive challenge and definitely hard for a control freak like me to let go and accept all this help. But there’s no way I can do this on my own.

At the moment it’s all about getting the frames printed. It’s the slowest part. Even when trying to print fast we are still only going in 0.24mm layers. Basically… we take our model and “slice” it into our preferred layer height. In this case it’s 0.24mm. So if you took an object, like a mobile phone and cut it every 0.24mm that would give us our individual layers. The computer works its magic and works out the quickest way to draw each layer. Now the printer will draw the first 0.24mm layer onto the print bed in molten plastic through a tiny 0.4mm nozzle. Once that’s done the head moves up 0.24mm and draws the next one on top and keeps repeating until it’s finished. After 4 or 5 years of printing I still find it mesmerising to watch.

After the prints are done, we fit the elastic and foam onto it and finally slide in the screen. Job done. A quick spray with isopropanol and in the box! At the moment the team have made over 5000 masks! A massive well done to the 3D printing community!

Two things have struck me while I’ve been doing this. The first is how generous everyone is. Not just with money, but with time and materials. Everyone is really pulling together. The second thing is how desperate doctors/nurses/carers and other workers are for protection. The messages of desperation I’ve had are unbelievable. Both of these things just make me want to push harder and make more.

If you’d like to contribute to materials and printers, check out our GoFundMe page here.

Keep well,

Matt Read

Coping With Lockdown

A Lockdown Wedding in Felixstowe



When we heard about Annette and John, we just fell in love with them and couldn’t wait to share their story with you all. Here’s Annette to tell the tale of how their love story started…

John and I met quite by chance on the Felixstowe prom last year. We both used to walk the prom on our own every day and for several months we would just say hi and pass the time of day as we passed by each other going in opposite directions. 

One day towards the end of August, as I joined the prom from the bottom of Bent Hill, John was walking in the same direction. That day, we had our walk together, and found that we had plenty in common and the same sense of humour. At the end of the walk, we arranged to meet up the following day for another walk together, and as they say, the rest is history!

We began spending time together on a daily basis and love very soon blossomed for both of us (although John maintains that for him it was love at first sight!).

By the end of October John had proposed, although by then I think we both knew it was a foregone conclusion.

We had planned to marry on the 28th May at St John’s Church with Reverend Andrew Dotchin officiating, but that was of course prior to Covid19 and the lockdown, and our plans (along with many other people’s plans) had to be put on hold.

However, Reverend Dotchin came up with a lovely idea so that we could still mark the proposed date of the 28th May, by having a socially distanced Betrothal Service. This is an unofficial ceremony in which one makes a promise to marry at a future date. We had a lovely day which could almost be described as a dress rehearsal for the real thing. The ceremony was held in my sister Jo’s garden, and she did us proud with her efforts of decorating the garden in the appropriate colour scheme which was absolutely magical.

Obviously, we have been avidly watching the news for information on when weddings would be allowed to resume after lockdown, and we are very glad to say that we got married officially this morning at St. John’s Church at 11.30am. We were beyond excited! 😍😍

Because of the Betrothal Service which took place in May, we already have a gorgeous collection of photos.

A big thank you for the photos must to to our good friend Fran Comer who did a wonderful job of being the official photographer.

Annette and John

On behalf of us all at The Felixstowe Magazine, HUGE congratulations to Annette and John… your story is adorable and you’re a truly lovely couple! x

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Coping With Lockdown

Doing Her “Handmade” Part to Help Key Workers



It’s been such a pleasure to see so many articles come in from local people doing their part to make a difference. Though lockdown is going through the process of lifting, we’d still like to continue to shine a light on these local gems. This article is by the lovely local lady, Bev Lambert…

During lockdown I have been making various sewing items. I have donated 242 face coverings to people/key workers in my community. I have since been selling these to the wider community.  I have been making a number of little bears ‘(as below) which have been donated to many people within my community just to bring a smile on a face.  I have also donated some of the below pocket pillows which I make to sell. 

My sewing page can be found on Facebook/Twitter & Instagram “Berty Lamb Handmade“.  I make various items using my sewing and embroidery machines. 

I am also the founder of Over the Rainbow Children’s Charity, a charity to support local children across Suffolk who are living with a life limiting or serious illness, by providing specialist equipment to help day to day living.  The charity is run 100% by volunteers. I also made this large key worker hanger and raised £100.00 through a silent auction. I donated the £100.00 to Captain Tom Moore’s JustGiving page.  The winner if the auction was Glebe House Residential Home in Hollesley.  I have donated various sewn items to Glebe House including some lavender filled hearts which I initialled with each of the residents first names.  The staff all received a Ginger Ginger key fobs, including care staff, kitchen staff, maintenance staff etc all key fobs were relevant to the jobs they did within the home. 

Thank you to all the key workers, charities and local people out there. We’ve been in this together and it’s be an honour to be part of the positivity.

Bev Lambert

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Coping With Lockdown

Local Bin Man & Son Spread Happiness



I live in Felixstowe and am a key worker in Ipswich for the local council working as a bin man. I used to go out every Thursday at 8pm with my stepson so he could clap and beep the horn in my recovery truck. 

I have been on the front line all the time whilst this has all been going on and it has been nice to get letters and pictures from local children in Ipswich to show their appreciate for us bin men. It’s a very hard and physical job but is rewarding when we get little gestures like that from the kids so I just wanted to do this with my stepson every Thursday to show our appreciation too. 


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