A Feilding manufacturer has stepped up to support a Covid champion who has dedicated thousands of dollars and countless hours to help make wearing masks more convenient.
Palmerston North windfarm technician Ben Robertson started 3D printing nose clips, which prevent glasses from fogging up when wear masks, after seeing several people complain about it on social media during the August lockdown.
Initially he gave them away for free, but when demand grew too big he began asking for $2.50 from individuals in order to cover the costs of the clips he donates to healthcare workers.
AC Plastics has now come onboard, increasing production capacity 10-fold and allowing Robertson to donate 15,000 clips to MidCentral District Health Board by the end of this week.
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AC Plastics owner Paul Elmey said his wife and business partner, Julie Elmey, read about Robertson on Stuff and the couple decided to support his efforts.
“People just don’t give something for nothing these days, it’s all about the all mighty dollar.
“It’d be great, if more people could get on board with the way Ben thinks.”
AC Plastics makes all sorts of durable, injection-moulded plastics, from 100 per cent recycled material.
Elmey said it was all food and medical-grade plastic, so it was particularly well-suited for an item being donated to healthcare workers.
Robertson said the Elmeys were originally going to cover the cost of the production mould, but it ended up being significantly more expensive than first thought.
So he and his wife, Sana Robertson, paid $18,000 to have it made.
The Elmeys donated the cost of the material, and the time on AC Plastics machines which still represented a sizeable contribution, he said.
Since September, Robertson has scaled up his home-based operation to seven 3D printers. He made and delivered 800 nose clips a day.
With AC Plastics onboard that went up to nearly 9,000. It also means Robertson now plans to sell a couple of his printers on Trade Me at a $1 reserve – with the proceeds to go to healthcare charities.
Robertson said the added production would also allow him to expand outside the Manawatū, and donate to GPs, health clinics and DHBs in other regions.
He just wasn’t entirely sure how to manage it yet, when his current effort took almost all of his spare time.
“We've been focusing on Palmerston North first, because that’s where we live and where we can get to the easiest.”
Robertson said he was keen to hear from anyone who could help expand the distribution in other regions.
The nose clips can be ordered for $2.50 each, which will allow Robertson to donate two clips to healthcare workers, from www.art-isan.co.nz.