Arlindo Martins, a teacher at the Loulé Secondary School, is printing 3D visors, aimed mainly at health professionals, homes and mercies, who are. right now, at the forefront of fighting the Covid-19 outbreak.
In this task, it has the support of the Loulé City Council, which not only ceded the Palácio Gama Lobo, but also acquired, for that purpose, two more 3D printers, acetates, rubber bands and PLA filament (material from which the visor supports are manufactured. on printers).
«After several days closed at home, I started thinking about doing something in 3D printing, which could help in the fight against Covid-19. I looked on Facebook and found the group Movimento Maker – Portugal, created by Maker Bruno Horta, from the Leiria region. At the time, the group had about 500 members (at the moment it already has more than 9000, many to print). He was proposing the use of visors to help protect health professionals. I downloaded the file and started printing on my 3D printer in the kitchen», says Arlindo Martins, who is not only a teacher but also a member of the Rotary Clube de Loulé.
He liked the result so much that, that same night, he sent an email to the director of the Loulé Secondary School, Renata Afonso, requesting the transfer of the 3D press, in order to double the production.
“She accepted immediately and the next day (Tuesday, March 24th) I went to get the printer and started printing with both. At
Wednesday, the person in charge of the Loulé Criativo project, from the Municipality of Loulé, Marília Lúcio, contacted me, because they had a 3D printer there and wanted to know how they could help. I went to see the space and realized that the best thing to do was to gather all the printers at the Palácio Gama Lobo (where Loulé Criativo works) and start printing there, increasing production and conditions», he adds.
So, on Wednesday, I already had three 3D printers working during the building's opening hours, that is, from 8:00 am to midnight.
The next day, the number of available 3D printers went up. «The company 3D-wePrint4you lent a printer. At the moment, in Loulé, we have four 3D printers operating in this space, one more in the company and another one belonging to a colleague of mine from Escola Secundária de Loulé, professor António Pereira».
To these will be joined, this Monday, another one, acquired by the Rotary clubs of the Algarve. And two more, acquired by the Municipality of Loulé, as well as PLA filament, the material from which the visor supports in 3D printers are manufactured. In other words, in all, there will already be nine.
“Initially the elastics were provided by me. At the moment, acetates and elastics have been supplied mainly by the Municipality of Loulé, which has made an enormous effort to ensure that nothing is missing! Meanwhile, other entities also quickly joined the cause: Loulecopia, University of Algarve /CCMAR, Casa Caracol-Loulé, as well as some private persons, either in the supply of acetates or in the supply of elastics», enumerates the professor, stressing that, given the emergency situation in the country, I could not stay at home doing nothing.
“I'm working at Palácio Gama Lobo to try to help, through this process of producing visors, reach everyone in need, fulfilling the following priority order: 1st – health professionals; 2nd – homes and mercies; 3rd – general public. It is important to mention that all the visors are free, my work is not paid as I refuse to receive money in emergency situations», stresses this teacher from the Loulé Secondary School.
Each 3D printer, if it has no flaws, produces between 10 to 15 visor holders a day, he explains, noting that, depending on factors such as the type of printer, each visor can take between 1h10 and 1h40 minutes to be produced.
“We are working from 8:00 am to 00:00 am, although the printers work until 2:00 am. It is necessary, like us, that the printers stop a little during the night, to withstand this level of daily effort. However, I always think that, every hour that goes by without producing, can imply another life that can be lost…», he says.
Arlindo Martins pays tribute to all those who are at the forefront of the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak: “Now I see the nerves of steel that healthcare professionals have to have! They, yes, are the real heroes in this unequal war! We help where we can, so that it is possible to create better conditions for protection», he concludes.