IN BETTER times the 3D printers that belong to Ebley based company Snow Business would be hard at work, churning out parts for the snow machines that they build and sell to special effects companies all over the world.

The effects of the coronavirus on the global film and TV industry however mean the snow firm's premises are now closed.

The company may be down for the time being, but it’s not out.

Snow Business head of research, Paul Denney, who is also a Stroud District Councillor, has borrowed the Snow Business printers, set them up in his living room and is using them to 3D print parts for much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for the NHS.

The Prusa-RC3 face masks are being printed by volunteers all over the UK now and shipped for free by DPD parcel delivery.

The volunteer initiative was set up by Dr David Coxon only days ago, but has already 3,400 volunteers have signed up, with hundreds more joining every day.

To date 186,000 masks have been requested by front line staff (so short are they of PPE) and currently 80,000 are in production.

“I can print about six a day," said Cllr Denney, "and the only thing that will slow that down is if I run out of filament.”

“Lots of people are helping in lots of ways and this is something I can do.

For once being a bit of a geek is paying dividends.”