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17-year-old's campaign to make cooling fans for PPE visors

26 June 2020

Toby Weymouth, aspiring engineer, has designed a PPE visor mounted cooling fan to make COVID-19 protection easier to wear in the summer.

Toby Weymouth, aspiring engineer and Marketing Assistant at PLUS Automation, came up with an innovative solution to counter the horrific photos carried in newspapers, showing the discomfort of nurses wearing PPE 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 at King’s School, Worcester and an Arkwirght Engineering Scholar, 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 of making 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 the future, the USB portable battery pack could 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 USB plugs.

An aspiring engineer, Toby was a member of EDGE4x4, a King’s School team which twice won the UK heats of the Land Rover 4x4 In Schools Technology Challenge and achieved 5th position in last year’s World final. Toby, who was responsible for marketing and sponsorship in the team, used his contacts to get support from a variety of businesses, from local SME’s to global brands.

With the help of Midland’s 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.

Toby Weymouth, aspiring engineer and Marketing Assistant at PLUS Automation

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.

If you can help make fans for nurses, carers and other key-workers, please check out the website. If you lack the practical skills, you can donate to buy parts for others to assemble. 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


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