Newham college student coordinating production of 600 visors a day for frontline workers

Dhiresh Nathwani, a student at the London Design and Engineering UTC in Newham, is coordinating the

Dhiresh Nathwani, a student at the London Design and Engineering UTC in Newham, is coordinating the production of 600 protective visors. Picture: Makers4TheNHS - Credit: Archant

Producing 600 protective visors every day is no easy ask, yet that is precisely what 18-year-old Dhiresh Nathwani is coordinating right now.

Dhiresh — a student at The London Design and Engineering (LDE) UTC in Royal Docks — is also the founder of Makers4TheNHS, a service which produces face shields for frontline workers.

As the initiative receives national acclaim, the founder explains how his college inspired the idea: “My passion for 3D printing came from the college. It has a lot of printers, but some of them were broken, so I began taking them home to fix them. It grew from there.”

Dhiresh started 3D printing at age 14; four years on, he is managing around 65 volunteers involved with making the visors.

The founder explains that volunteers use their own 3D printers to produce the materials, after which everything is sent to a hub in either London or Hampshire to be delivered.

Clear thought has gone into every element of the process, highlighted by how the orders are staggered.

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For example, if two hospitals order large quantities of visors, batches of twenty will be alternated between each to ensure fairness: “We don’t want one hospital to get all the PPE”.

The founder also ensures volunteer wellbeing by having biweekly calls, though he remarks that “we aim to put emotions aside” to make as many visors as possible.

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Life is now vastly different for the 18-year-old, who is still technically in the final year of his A-Levels.

Instead, he is now working long hours to fulfil orders within 10 days, whilst managing £700 daily running costs.

With the initiative solely reliant on donations, Dhiresh welcomes any contribution people can make to the fundraising page.

He adds that they are seeking corporate sponsorship, and confirms spare printers will be donated to schools after coronavirus.

Dhiresh recognises the role that the LDE has played in his development, with two of its technicians currently on board as volunteers.

The student hasn’t yet decided what comes next, as coronavirus has brought forward the gap year he was planning to take.

Whatever the future holds, this will always be a memorable year.

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