Sheffield teenager joins fight to keep frontline NHS staff safe by 3D-printing protective face shields

A budding engineer from Sheffield has joined the fight to keep frontline NHS staff safe against coronavirus by 3D printing protective face shields.

By Alana Roberts
Sunday, 12th April 2020, 12:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 3:03 pm

Mackenzie Lake, 15, from Chapeltown, has formed his own in-home production line to build the personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospital workers and other frontline staff that’s been in short supply during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ecclesfield School pupil is currently making up to 20 protective face shields a day using two 3D printers – one he received for his birthday and another that was gifted by the Limbbo Foundation, a Barnsley charity which creates prosthetic limbs for children – and has already given some to staff at Ecclesfield Group Practice.

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The 3D printing technology is being used to create PPE

But the young engineer is now hoping to up his production levels and is raising money to help him achieve his goal of 50 a day.

His father Rob Lake, 46, said: “He’d learnt about the shortages on the news and just surprised us by taking it upon himself to print them off. I've got a restaurant in Chapeltown and he helps me out, he’s always eager to help people and would do anything for someone else over himself which just makes me so proud.”

Rob launched a fundraising page for Mackenzie last week after receiving numerous requests from doctors surgeries and care homes who were in need of PPE – as before then the family had been funding the project themselves.

Since then, it has gained over £1,200 in donations which has allowed the 15-year-old to order more supplies and an extra printer to increase production.

Mackenzie is asking for donations so he can continue to make PPE for frontline NHS staff

“He does all the printing himself, he cuts the shields and puts them together, then packages them up,” Rob added. “We’re just helping him with the finance side of it and the organisation.”

Mackenzie spends time living with his father in Chapeltown, and his mother Kelly Lake, who lives in Darton, and transports the printers between the two.

However, the new printer, which is due in three weeks, will stay at his father’s house.

Rob continued: “He just wants to do it wherever he is because he’s doing it every day. He’s always been interested in engineering and is always trying to keep himself occupied by watching videos. After getting his first 3D printer around 12 months ago he started printing bits and bobs off.

15-year-old Mackenzie Lake has already distributed some of the PPE to nearby doctors surgeries

“Then he got in touch with the Limb Bo Foundation, which prints prosthetic limbs for children who have lost their arms and things, and then they helped him out with another printer and showed him the best way to print stuff.

“He found out how to print the face shields and then began printing, using all hours of the day. He wants to get up to four printers so he can run two lots, then any excess money in the account afterwards will be donated to the NHS.”

Mackenzie Lake, 15, is creating protective face shields for NHS staff