Levin engineer Brent Woolston has found himself part of the national Covid-19 relief effort almost by accident.

Stuck at home when his business was forced in to shutdown six weeks ago due to the Covid-19 lockdown, he started tinkering around with his latest toy - a 3D printer - to pass the time.

It was brought to his attention that the medical profession was in dire need of face-shields, and that a nationwide organisation called Shields Up was mobilising out of nothing in response to the shortage of PPE equipment.

Woolston knew he could play his part, contacted Shields Up, and within days had turned his living room into a production line for the essential equipment.


"It was amazing to watch it grow, in a matter of days," he said.

Woolston volunteered his time free to make the shields using all the stocks of filament he had in the house, until more arrived.

"I saw that no one in Horowhenua was doing it so got in touch with the Wellington hub and worked in with them. It was a neat process to be involved with, when you think that just days earlier it didn't even exist," he said.

Local businesses Motor Sport Apparel and Cordall were in the thick of the response too, supplying other materials involved in making the masks, like bungy cord, while Levin New World manager Matt Rollinson had gifted bags for distribution.

When Shields Up was initially created, a call for donations had resulted in more than $100,000 pledged nationwide to go towards materials.

Woolston said it was voluntary work and no money was changing hands during production, although any filament stock used in production was being replaced.

"I'm no worse off, put it that way," he said.

He was just happy to be busy while at home during lockdown and have the chance to do something positive to help essential workers in the relief effort.


"It's kept me entertained," he said.

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Woolston had helped make and distribute more than 260 shields to healthcare workers at surgeries, pharmacies, dentists and midwives in Horowhenua in the last few weeks.

There were three components to the shield, a headband, the shield itself, and an elastic that kept the shield in place.

He then spent hours painstakingly sterilising the finished product with alcohol before release.

Woolston, who was self-employed, was looking forward to getting back work at his business, Seismic Welding Ltd, as lockdown rules were relaxed.