WARRINGTON'S STEM centre and fablab at Beamont Collegiate Academy has been using its 3D printers to create oxygen masks for coronavirus patients.

The centre was officially opened earlier this month and is home to computers, laser cutters, robotics, drones, virtual reality technology, traditional craft tools and 3D printers.

Based on the Long Lane school site, the hi-tech manufacturing facility put its printers to good use, modify diving masks to add attachments for an oxygen tank.

These can now be used on coronavirus patients who need extra support to breathe.

Warrington Guardian:

Fablab director, Chris Hillidge, said: "We know these devices were used successfully in Italy when hospitals were really struggling, so we thought we’d use our expertise to do the same here in the UK.

"We know these aren’t a ventilator but they might help ease the pressure on our emergency services and we’re ready to manufacture more if the NHS needs our help.

"We’ve worked with lots of international industries before and even produced medical grade prototypes, but now there is an urgent demand we’re glad we can support our communities and hospitals."

The Fablab is also producing face shields which are in short supply in hospitals.

Once schools in Warrington re-open the facility, sponsored by United Utilities, will continue educating primary, secondary, college and teacher training students.

As part of its support for the initiative, United Utilities have invested £12,500 to pay for hands-on experience days at the centre for 50 north west primary schools.

It will be also then reopen to businesses and the public to allow the whole community to experience science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.