Making Face Masks – Tools and Resources

As the Illinois PPE Network begins the shift to making face masks, keep your eyes on this page. It’ll be receiving some major updates in the next couple days that’ll direct you toward tools and resources we’ll provide to get sewers up and running.

Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus

Illinois PPE Network BIG Update

We bought $65,000 of PET-G for the Solin Flat Pack face shield model today — this will be stamped out using the die pictured, made by Triangle Die and Supplies. Also, I got a pallet of 3D printers and filament donated by Newark delivered to my driveway. We bought 30 sewing machines and accompanying tools, and thousands of dollars of fabric and elastic. Finally, I can now officially announce that the Illinois PPE Network is partnered with Dremel, which has dedicated almost 150 3D printers and 13 laser cutters to create thousands of shields, and have been on the case for the past handful of weeks that we’ve been operating.

We’ve made over 30,000 shields (very conservative estimate). We’re making another ~70,000. We’re shifting onto face masks. All because of the donations from kind people around the state of Illinois — people just like you and me — to And all so we can keep the people healthy who’re doing the harder work out there.

That’s my update for the week.

Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus


Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus

Illinois PPE Article on MAKE

Dale Dougherty at MAKE wrote a nice 5 part series on our work with Illinois PPE. You can read it here.

Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus

Making Masks

Sarah Margalus (my wife) has a great series of videos on using a simple pleating jig and bias tape jig to make face masks at home. Check them out.

Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus

Chicago Council on Science and Technology

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Chicago Council on Science and Technology on our Illinois PPE efforts. If you want a digestible explanation of what we’re doing, it’s in here. Thanks to C2ST for the boost on our efforts to help docs and healthcare workers throughout the state.

Live video can be found here.

Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus

Update 4: Illinois PPE Network

From my post over at our fundraising site.

Hello friends,

Over the past three weeks we have raised over $30,000 to produce tens of thousands of shields for the state of Illinois and city of Chicago. I have a few important updates for you as we continue to move forward at an increased rate:

1. We have currently raised about $35,000 from this crowdfunding campaign and received our first grant today for $25,000. About $20,000 of our current funding has been spent to fabricate over 15,000 face shields, and we plan on spending a large portion of the remainder on PET-G (polyethylene terephthalate glycol, the clear plastic that serves as the front of the face shield) and filament within the week.

2. We are working directly with the city of Chicago and Jesse Lava, chief of policy & strategic initiatives, Chicago Department of Public Health, through their United Center location to get equipment into the hands of the highest-needs areas in the city. We are also working with GetMePPE Chicago to identify hospitals in need of deliveries, including a recent large delivery to Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers.

3. We have reached a new phase of production and will be developing the “Solin Flat Pack” design made by Jeff Solin, one of our organizers. In production, this will make (at a minimum) 1,800 shields per hour. We are currently operating a test run for 8,000 shields. Our only current limitation is PET-G.

4. Our work was featured in WBEZ through this story. Please share it!

5. I will be speaking to the Chicago Council on Science and Technology this Thursday to further explain our efforts and share our strategies and tactics. You can sign up for that event here:

I want to provide you with these updates for reasons of transparency, as well as to show our current progress. Your generous donations have made all of this, and more, possible. Every dollar that you donate helps people stay healthy, safe, and secure. More than that, it shows the profound generosity of humanity in times of need.

I want to share some kind words that we received over this Easter weekend from a nurse in a local hospital:

“I love your shields, now I realize I can get a snug fit; I like them better than our hospital issue. I am rolling them out to our staff and also administration and anticipate I will be asking for another shipment shortly. You have definitely earned a place in heaven for this amazing contribution to those of us working the front lines.”

Thank you for your continued contributions to this vital effort.

Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus

Do the work

Just do the work. It’s all that matters.

Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus

Getting Distributed Fabrication of PPE Started in Your State.

If you’re looking to get a fabrication network for PPE up and running, we’ve been doing it for about two weeks here in IL and are now scaling up to full-on manufacturing. All the details on how to get started and why we’re doing the things the way we’re doing on our website:

Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus

Kind Words

Some kind words we’ve received from the PPE project over the past few days. Thank you to all the healthcare workers and first responders doing the real work. If you need help, or if you can help, visit


God bless and thank you for the shields you sent out. With people like you, humanity still exists.


I got them, thanks! thank you so much for you compassion ang good samaritan behavior guys! may the almighty bless you always!


I just wanted to sincerely say thank you to you, Sarah, and your whole team for what you are doing. Stroger will get the first 90 we get from you to cover Dr Aks and the folks they’ve talked to in the Anesthesia department over there. We already have homes for the first 400 from [redacted organization name].

Afterwards, we will start sharing yours more broadly with our network and as we get photos from them, we will share. There is so much gratitude from the healthcare worker community and I wish I could capture their faces for you or the sound of relief in their voices when we tell them we are coming. I hope you all are able to get rest sometimes too, this will be a marathon for us all. Thank you again.


Thank you so much for the production and donation of face shields to the Rolling Meadows Fire Department. The shields are now on each of our rigs and provide a layer of protection that our members previously did not have.On behalf of the men and women of RMFD, a sincere thank you for all that you are doing for first responders.

Jay Margalus is on Twitter at @jaymargalus