Calderdale scientist ramps up efforts to fight Covid-19

A Todmorden scientist will produce over two hundred protective face masks for front-line healthcare staff.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 3:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 3:12 pm
Steve Bagley with 3D printer

Steve Bagley. a cancer scientist, who normally works with microscopes and x-ray machinery to analyse cancer cells, will use a 3D printer at Cancer Research UK’s Manchester Institute, part of The University of Manchester.

Mr Bagley has single-handedly re-purposed a 3D printer in his laboratory to produce the plastic headbands.

He said: “I saw there was a need for more protective equipment for those working in the NHS so I wondered how I could help.

Steve Bagley in lab

“At the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, we have a 3D printer and it occurred to me that I could use this to create plastic headbands for protective face masks.”

Although the Institute’s labs at Alderley Park in Cheshire are currently closed for research, Mr Bagley is making weekly visits from Todmorden to ensure that their specialist equipment used in cancer research is properly maintained.

It was during a recent trip that quick-thinking Mr Bagley realised he could make use of the 3D printer whilst carrying out essential maintenance on other pieces of kit.

He said: “I’m very familiar with the 3D printer, as it’s a piece of kit we use regularly to create parts for microscopes and other lab equipment.

Steve Bagley handing masks over to Lauren Hewitt for the Christie

“Once I had a template and some specific dimensions for the headbands, it was simple enough to turn this into a mini production line – so I decided to go ahead.

“There is such a strong demand for this sort of equipment that I really wanted to do something to support all those who are working so hard on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19. And the sooner we beat this virus, the sooner we can return to beating cancer.”

The finished head pieces will be distributed to hospitals across the North West, including The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester.

Anna Taylor, North West spokesperson for Cancer Research UK, said: “Cancer doesn’t go away during or after Covid-19, but we’re incredibly proud of our community of scientists who have been very quick to respond to the crisis, using their kit, skills and talent to support the NHS.

3D printing machine producing mask frames

“Steve is a shining example of the heroic efforts our scientists are making to support the global effort of tackling Covid-19 and helping us get back to beating cancer as soon as possible.”