Home Leaflet - Helpful Engineering: Visor batch contents & Visor adjustment

Leaflet - Helpful Engineering: Visor batch contents & Visor adjustment



Production date


Object number


Physical Description

Photocopied information leaflet, on white paper, A4 size. Entitled: 'Visor batch contents' and 'Visor adjustment'. Produced by Helpful Engineering.

Personal experiences

Helpful Engineering UK

Text Anna Sulan Masing @annasulan
Photos Jørn Tomter @jorntomter

Helpful Engineering is a global volunteer organisation of over 3,400 people including engineers, medics and scientists that have come together to support the world in coping with the crisis of COVID-19. Currently it focuses on providing face shields for key workers, but it is continuously looking to develop, and problem solve.

Helpful Engineering UK has recently launched a Hackney Hub, pulling together local people from various backgrounds to coordinate, produce and deliver face shields. This is an entirely volunteer programme that can be best described as a spider web - a vast network of people working from their homes and workshops constantly in contact, responding and resourcing the frontline communities in this pandemic.

There are two shields that are being produced, soft shields which are made by laser cutting and hard shields which are printed on 3D printers. The laser cut shields are quickest to be produced, with approximately 22 an hour being created, whereas the 3D printers can make max 40 a day, and that’s only if you can work out a few hacks to the system! The original designs came from Ken Chew in Hong Kong, who shared them to the Helpful Engineering network. The network is built on shared knowledge, it is a collaborative, open source styled community.

The heart of the hub is to be hyper local, to serve and be served by those in close proximity. This allows for people to work from their homes, and for delivery people to not be travelling far, therefore everyone can work in safe environments.

One of the producers is Building Bloqs, in Enfield. They are an open-access workshop that has opened during this time specifically for individuals in its 400 strong members to work on producing the soft shields. Nick Newman, the Director of U-Build, a non-profit company that makes flat pack buildings in Hackney, has been one of the key people working at Building Bloqs for this purpose. There are two shifts a day - 7am until late at night - and for safety reasons two people are on site at once monitoring the large laser machines (but as it is a big workshop space they are able to operate within a safe environment), with a huge roster of volunteers. This week they had the 5000th shield collected, and they can make up to 500 shelfs a day.

Iva Stanisheva, an architect, runs the Hackney Hub from her flat; she came on board helping to deliver shields, then worked a few shifts at Building Bloqs a workshop space that can laser cut the soft shields, and now as coordinator for the North East Distribution Hub.

Iva’s flatmate Josh Haywood is also an architect, working for WATG who kindly lent him two 3D printers so that he is able to set up a production line in one of their rooms. This is a typical set up across the various homes and workspaces, where individuals are setting up personal ‘workshops’ to fill the requests from various frontline workers.

The requests for shields often come through from individuals, such as team leaders within medical teams, care homes and other frontline jobs, who are looking to protect themselves and their teams. They fill in a request form on the Helpful Engineering UK site, which then gets directed to the appropriate location Hubb, who organises production and deliver.

“There are a lot of WhatsApp groups and constant conversation” Iva explained, the essential part to this operation is organisation and communication. “We have set up very clear instructions and processes on the website so that everyone, at any point in the chain – from delivery, producers to recipients – knows exactly what is needed from them, and what to expect”.

This organisation has only been active for the global crisis, and the UK branch has been operating for one month. It is astonishing how much need there is for this service, and the effort from so many people. Shing Mon Chung, who is from a marketing background and is volunteering with the project around communications, explained “in the group’s first month, 15,000 visors have been produced and distributed to frontline workers in 22 London hospitals, 28 care homes, 34 COVID hot clinics and GP surgeries. The initiative now has 200 members, all volunteers, who produce, assemble and deliver visors.”

It is important to note that these shields are not PPE certified equipment but are still in great need and do form a key function in protecting people. They are designed to be reusable and cost 60p to make; the project is funded by charitable donations, through their fundraiser.

It’s a project that shows how the hyper-local is part of a global community, how a flat in Hackney has an effect on a wider world. It is about the ever connected-ness of small communities; through communication, connections and action a lot can happen.
Hackney flatpack home designers set laser cutters to work making NHS visors
by Franki Berry

Published: 10:24 AM May 11, 2020 Updated: 10:51 AM October 14, 2020

A Hackney company has created thousands of protective visors for NHS workers battling coronavirus on the frontline.

U-Build, a branch of the architecture firm Studio Bark, has been using its know-how to make visors as part of the Helpful Engineering UK volunteer group, which was set up to tackle shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the NHS.

The company, which designs flat-pack homes, has used laser cutters in cooperative workshop Building Bloqs to get involved.

About 10,000 visors have been created at Building Bloqs by both U-Build and other companies.

“All we really wanted to do was help in some way,” said Nick Newman, director of U-Build. “We heard about Helpful Engineering making visors and thought it would be really good.”

Laser machines were chosen over 3D printers because they are quicker, and on some days the technology has been working 7am to midnight to create 400 visors.

Nick added: “You’ve got to look at the bigger picture. It’s easy to get caught in the pleasure trap, the money-making system - whatever you call it - but it’s just trying to reflect on what is important.

“What has happened [in lockdown] is people looked around them and saw people are dying and wanted to help. It is as simple as that.”

All the firms in Helpful Engineering combined have produced 18,000 visors in the project’s first five weeks, and those have been distributed to frontline workers in 24 London hospitals, 41 care homes, 63 Covid-19 clinics and GP surgeries.

Frontline workers who have benefitted from the scheme include homeless charity Sutton Night Watch and residential care home for Jewish people, Nightingale Hammerson.

There are now more than 200 volunteers helping out with scheme, including the Met Police, who have been distributing the PPE.

Helpful Engineering was founded at the end of March by Katie Meech, Glyn Goodwin, Poppy Becke and Fergal McEntee.

Katie said: “We all feel indebted to London’s frontline workers so wanted to find a practical way we could help them.”

Fergal added: “We are all in this together and by working together we can help protect our frontline workers and the most vulnerable citizens.”

Associated Event




Height: 295mm
Width: 210mm

Exhibition Label

From 'Hackney during the pandemic':

Protective face shields
U-Build / Helpful Engineering UK

In early April 2020 staff from the Hackney based architectural firm U-Build joined the Helpful Engineering UK volunteer group to help manufacture protective face shields for frontline health workers.

Using laser cutters at Building BloQs co-operative workshop in Enfield, U-Build staff, and other volunteers, used their expertise to manufacture and assemble up to 500 face shields a day. Volunteers then delivered these protective face shields to local healthcare workers working on the frontline.

Pack of protective face shields
Made by U-Build in collaboration with Helpful Engineering UK, 2020

Helpful Engineering issued the protective face shields to frontline healthcare workers in packs of ten. Included in the pack were instructions for disinfecting the reusable face shields.
Although the face shields were not certified PPE, they did provide a vital role in helping to protect frontline workers when there was a severe shortage of PPE.

On display?



Visor batch contents HELPFUL ENGINEERING

Components & materials:
Visor frame - 3D printed or laser cut - Polypropylene, PETG or PLA plastic plastic
Visor shield - Acetate/PVC sheet 125-250 microns

Visor sanitisation guidelines are provided inside this pack

If more support is required use a rubber band at the rear of the frame (3D printed version) or adjust the strap to suit (laser-cut version)

Thanks and stay safe!

Disclaimer: These visors are produced by volunteers and offered in good faith (and for free) to meet the urgent need among frontline NHS workers during COVID 19.
These visors have not yet been certified. Until certification is received, we kindly request that you send one visor to your hospital's head of infection control for review.


From all of us at Helpful Engineering UK, we'd like to say a massive thank you for all your effort and incredible work. We'd also love to see a selfie of you in our visor - it helps us raise funds to produce more.


1. The visors arrive with the adjustable band unconnected.
2. Feed the band through the rear slot then the front slot.
3. Pull the adjustable strap forwards until comfortable - and secure by popping out the notch.