June 19, 2020

My name is Zyad Reda and I’m studying Computer Science as an exchange student. While at Cardiff Met, I joined the EUREKA Robotics Lab‘s internship program alongside my studies, as I’m interested in designing and building robots.

Since I was a child, I have always been very excited about robots and the electronics behind it, so I started a self-learning journey to discover how I could build my own custom robots. In particular, I’m very passionate about 3D printing technology and 3D modeling. Luckily, the EUREKA Robotics Lab provided a valuable opportunity to me.

Zyad sitting at a desk working at his laptop
I have always been interested in robotics and electronics

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, the university had to suspend face-to-face teaching. The news of personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages were everywhere, and I realised that this problem would contribute to making the pandemic worse.

However with the help of Dr. Esyin Chew, the founder of the EUREKA Robotics Lab, we were able to provide support for healthcare workers in the NHS by designing and printing face shields to protect them from the virus. I was asked to design a simple face shield that we could 3D print on Lab’s and members’ 3D printers, and then send to NHS workers.

The design of the 3D printed face shield
Digital design for the head fitted semi-ring part of the face shield

The design I made is very simple, and it’s open source – anyone can download it to print it. It’s a head fitted semi-ring to be placed on the forehead, with four stubs that provide an attachment for the transparent shield. The advantage of an open source face shield 3D design is that we can print as much as we need to cover the shortage at a low cost. How wonderful!

My 3D printer and a printed head band

The University funded the Lab with an additional two 3D printers and plastic materials to help us print from home without the need to go out. Myself and three fellow students and Lab interns – Aveen Najm, Jack Dabrowski and Jayesh Saini – were all involved in the project. I am more than happy to be part of a project that proves how 3D printing technology can contribute to solving society’s problems.

3D printing is definitely a huge part of the future – nothing is better than easy and cheap designs and materials for production processes. My main goal now is to develop my new educational product HexaPo that I have been working on for two years!