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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

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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

142 Opens in June!



Dear fellow artists and art enthusiasts,

We hope this message finds you well, that your family is safe, and that recent months have been kind to you. We are pleased to announce the gallery will be reopening in June, with social distancing measures in place.

The 142 Team recently had a meeting (at a distance, photographic evidence above!) to discuss future plans for the gallery and spoke of our personal experiences during lockdown. 

Lockdown has allowed us to reflect on our artistic endeavours, connect with nature, to embrace a slower pace, cycle, create music, bake, and binge on boxsets! But jokes aside, we are all very grateful to the hard work, dedication and support from the NHS and all the key workers. Without them, these last few months would have been a lot tougher for us all.

Thank you to everyone who has played their part in social distancing, staying at home, following the government’s advice and staying safe. Together, we can get through this.

Reopening 142

As you will be aware, from mid-June, some retail units are allowed to reopen, as long as appropriate social distancing measures are in place. With this new governmental guideline, we have decided to reopen the gallery from Thursday 18th June 2020.

Our first exhibition since lockdown will be Lisa Berry and Jim Nind. You may have seen them in the gallery before, but since their isolation and lack of interaction with fellow artists, it will be interesting to see what artworks the pair create during their residency at 142!

More details will be announced in due course, including a layout of how the gallery will operate from 18th June 2020.

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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

New Skills Learnt in Lockdown

A little thought from the lovely Penny Parker.



Well lockdown has certainly given some of us time at home we hadn’t planned on and if you were like me you dived straight in with gardening, baking, cleaning everything etc. Now I guess it’s almost time to do all that again, except the baking as I’ve eaten way too much cake.

Many I’m sure had plans to learn or do something new, but did we actually do it.

I did dabble in baking cakes, scary thought for the neighbours and the fire brigade I know, as I do manage to burn most things. However they weren’t bad, looked and tasted ok ( except the garlic bread, let’s not mention that!). What wasn’t on my to do list was sewing… I hate sewing, I blame my teacher at high school who shouted at me rather a lot for my lack of skill. I usually leave sewing to my sister unless it can be glued then I’ll do it. But glueing face masks wasn’t an option.

I’d got material, odd I know for someone who doesn’t sew but it was Disney and who doesn’t like a bit of that!

I dredged up my ancient cast iron sewing machine, chuffed I hadn’t dumped it in the clear out. Swept out the cobwebs and spiders and plugged it in, well so good so far. Funny how using a sewing machine is like riding a bike, you never forget. I threaded her up, remembered my teachers screams about keeping your fingers away from the needle and off I went, slowly. It was rather like riding a steam train as it rattled about on the table making so much noise we had to turn the telly up. Never mind the ancient beast churned out almost 100 face masks for people. I lost count of the number of times the cotton snapped or the needle jammed but we made it.

Now she back in her case and back in retirement, not because I’ve stopped sewing but because I’m using a new machine!! It’s only borrowed from Recreate social enterprise who very kindly brought me some fabrics, thread and elastic from their shop but it’s helped me find a love for sewing. This machine is quiet and doesn’t shake the table, it even threads the needle, and the cotton hardly breaks. Masks are now being made so much faster and yes I’m loving it!

I’ve fallen in love with sewing… please end lockdown soon I can’t afford another hobby!!

Written by Penny Parker

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Art, Music, Books & Theatre

Just Jay Dance



Introductions first…

I’ve never really been good at introductions, but thought it would be nice to share a little bit about “me” and what I do! 

My names Jay, originally from Leicester, I moved to Ipswich when I was 17 having left home to start my own business up as a professional singer and dancer. I’ve worked abroad, on ships, holiday parks, schools and worked with charities to celebrities. It’s taken years of grafting (in-between the bar work, shelf stacking and suffering) I finally am fully self employed in my 10th year living off “Just Jay Dance” doing what I love – entertaining. 

Don’t be fooled though – it’s hard work, painful at times! Disheartening. Lonely. Sometimes I wish I’d have been given a different set of skills! But I do what I can and especially in times like “now” I realise how important the entertainment industry is and wouldn’t choose anything else now.

Currently I’m sat dressed as the “Red Power Ranger” in my living room, having recorded 4 birthday messages for kids stuck in lockdown.

“I can’t imagine how hard it much be for some parents trying to make their kids birthday so special! Especially those too young to understand what’s going on!

So if me dressed as a character and wishing them a happy birthday or “to be good” then that’s my afternoon done. Tomorrow I’m reading “The ButterFly Lion” live on Facebook for children before they go to sleep while Monday morning recording 3 dance tutorials for teens to learn!

I had a choice when this “lockdown” happened – sit, moan and be absorbed by the never ending negative news OR try and use the tools I have to entertain my audience online for those needing a boost of happiness. I plan to share some of the things I’ve done for charity, friends and family as well as myself. If I can raise even one smile – my jobs been done. Tough crowd sometimes – but usually the most worth while and rewarding! 

Stay Safe,

Much Love

Jay x

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