Illinois PPE and Distributed Fabrication Network

At the outset of the 2020 pandemic, I reached out to friends of mine from around the city and state to see how we could put our common “maker” skills to use. This includes people from Chicago Public Library, Chicago Public Schools, Dremel Brand, the Museum of Science and Industry, Northwestern, and the Chicago Peace Fellows. Most of these groups have access to digital fabrication machinery like 3D printers, laser cutters, and so forth.

We quickly identified 3D printing face shields as an immediate need, and this project rapidly became Illinois PPE. Over the course of five months, we raised nearly $125,000 to fabricate protective equipment to keep frontline workers — including doctors, nurses, and teachers — safe while they performed their duties. We have — collectively — fabricated over 100,000 pieces of PPE.

Equipment that the PPE network is fabricating on an ongoing basis includes: face masks, face shields, and clear barriers. Throughout the process I have been responsible for fundraising, organizing, and the mass-manufacture of PPE. As our ambitions have scaled, so have our capabilities. Illinois PPE now actively collaborates with tool and die shops, as well as local job shops, to have PPE fabricated out of PET-G that we’ve acquired.

Sponsoring organizations to Illinois PPE include Coca-Cola, Accenture, Dremel, Newark, and others.

Below are some media clips and pictures showcasing our work.

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