A former Newmarket man is one of a team of volunteer engineers who have set up a speedy production line for Personal Protective Equipment in the north-east of Scotland.

Aberdeen-based Duncan Macleod grew up in Newmarket and went to Laxdale Primary School and The Nicolson Institute, before moving to the faculty of computing technologies and science at NESCol in Aberdeen, where 3-D printers are just part of the department’s kit.

The potential of the equipment interested Duncan so much that he saved up to get one at home, where he discovered that, as he said: “There’s so much that can be made from a spool of biodegradable plastic filament.”

Coronavirus lockdown found the 3D printing community looking to help out, so Duncan jumped at the chance to produce a simple face visor, designed in Sweden and easy to make on a small printer.

His efforts coincided with a call for help from Joe Skinner, who had just set up a Facebook page called ‘protecting essential workers in the north-east’. Duncan became his fifth volunteer and, within a few weeks the group were hard at work supplying health and social care workers with face visors to protect themselves while working to hold back the spread of the virus.

Duncan said: “There are now more than 15 people in the group – nine printing and four supporting, plus Joe and his partner Nikki doing both at the hub in Peterhead. We can produce 150 visor frames each day and to date have manufactured and supplied over 2,000 units.

“There’s been weekly collection and Nikki Mandok, Joe’s partner, has been great at co-ordinating supply and demand, and dropping fresh filament spools to people when the donations allow.  They intend to expand the printer farm when donations allow. 

“Until official production and logistics can meet demand, there are many groups across Scotland and the world carrying out similar community projects.”

Peterhead Hospital’s casualty and dialysis units have been among those to benefit from the team of volunteers, as have pharmacies, care homes and other community organisations in the north-east of Scotland.

Joe Skinner said: “We have had tremendous support from my employer JBS Fabrication, also from AM Campbell, CNOOC and had the premises supplied free of charge by Peterhead Area Community Trust (PACT). Aberdeen Marine Surveyors Ltd have volunteered to sterilise all the units and we have had support from the public on the GoFundMe site (https://www.gofundme.com/f/protecting-essential-workers-in-the-north-east ).”

Duncan Macleod’s parents, Duncan and Catherine Macleod and his brothers Grant and Colin Macleod still live in Lewis.

The pictures show 3D printed headbands ready to be sterilised, volunteers packaging up the visors for delivery and grateful recipients at Peterhead Hospital’s casualty department.