Just as 3D printers around the world have been churning out face shields, the thread injectors of home sewists have been stitching up fabric masks. Over the past several weeks, [Becky Stern] has made them for friends, family, neighbors, and anyone in her community who happens upon the box of free masks she’s left at a nearby bus stop. This is in addition the scores she has made and donated to health care workers so they can extend the life of their N95 masks.
If you’re going to make more than a few of anything, it just makes sense to make multiples at the same time and adjust the process for batch production. [Becky Stern] has some great ideas for ramping up assembly even further that include cutting out multiple main mask pieces at the same time, and ironing the pleats of several masks round robin style so you don’t waste time while they cool.
Even if you don’t dabble in the fabric arts, her method of kitting out the process of mask making is an interesting look into small-scale production.
Our favorite idea concerns the side bindings and the straps, which are the last part of the build and take the longest to do. [Becky] makes several miles of straps ahead of time with a 3D printed bias tape folder and then sews them all into a continuous strip. She can add the short side bindings to a bunch of masks at once, feeding them in one after the other so they end up strung together like sausages. Then she can just snip them apart and keep going, having saved both time and thread. Watch [Becky] make a single mask after the break and see how easy it is.
If sewing is a no-go for you, there are plenty of ways to help the PPE effort by firing up that printer.