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King's Worcester

26 June

Sixth Form pupil designs PPE visor mounted cooling fan

King’s Sixth Form student, Toby Weymouth came up with an innovative solution to counter the recent photos carried in newspapers, showing the discomfort of nurses wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) face visors all day long in warm hospitals. Toby hit upon the idea of using a cooling fan to create a gentle breeze on the face, much like the solar-powered, comedy baseball caps he had seen in Florida.

Being an A-level Design & Technology student, Toby worked to design and refine a fan housing which hobbyists could manufacture for themselves and their local community on a 3D printer. He also wanted to produce a high-quality, quiet solution which was comfortable to wear.

Toby’s design uses a 3D-printed housing to contain a small, light, quiet fan, which clips onto any visor and is powered by a USB phone battery pack, connected using a 1.5m cable. The battery pack can be kept in the user’s pocket, which removes the weight of the fan on the head. In addition to this as many people already own these USB battery packs, it enabled the cost to make a fan to be kept to around £5 each, on the assumption that the user would provide the battery. Another key benefit is the reduction in waste because in future the USB portable battery pack can also be used for many years, recharging phones etc. A typical small battery pack will run the fan for half a day, whilst a larger pack is capable of running the fan for an entire working day. The USB battery packs can instantly be swapped, and they are recharged using phone chargers, laptops, or increasingly USB plugs.

As a member of King’s School’s EDGE4x4, the school team which twice won the UK heats of the Land Rover 4×4 In Schools Technology Challenge and achieved 5th position in the World finals, Toby, who had been responsible for marketing and sponsorship, used his contacts to get support from a variety of businesses, from local SME’s to international brands, across Europe.

With the help of Bromsgrove based 3D printing experts, Central Scanning, and the American 3D printer manufacturer, Makerbot, the fan housing’s design has been optimised so that it can be made on home and hobbyist 3D printers. Toby has provided a variety of designs for people to download at the website www.CoolingFans.co.uk.

Detailed instructions of how to mount the fan, make the cable and where to buy all of the components, even the tools are also listed at Parts.CoolingFans.co.uk and electronic component supplier, CPC, is offering specially reduced prices.

Toby is sharing his designs and calling for support. If you can help make fans for nurses, carers and other key-workers, please visit the website. If you lack the practical skills, you can help by donating to buy parts for others to assembly. A fan, housing, and cable costs around £5 and hopefully will make wearing a PPE visor a lot more pleasant – www.JustGiving.com/crowdfunding/CoolingFans

Find out more about helping or donating at www.CoolingFans.co.uk