Impact in Action

Makers Unite!: From Maker Community to Face Shield Manufacturer

Makers Unite! is a multi-organization collaborative emergency response effort to 3D-print, assemble and deliver face shields, in partnership with Open Works, Innovation Works, We the Builders, and others. Together, the makers are working with volunteers across Maryland to 3D-print face shield parts at home, and clean, assemble, package, and distribute shields to hospitals, primarily to Baltimore and surrounding areas. Implementing the collaborative in less than 2 months, the project relies approximately 50/50 on grants and earned revenue for Open Works, who is implementing distribution.
Earned revenue is raised from sales of face shields, with product costs primarily to cover materials, and surrounding products associated with the campaign, such as T-shirts.  Open Works, which ordinarily operates as a co-working or maker space housing a variety of businesses, experienced a significant decline in revenue as social distancing took effect. Funders froze their grants due to stock market declines that affected their assets, requiring Open Works to furlow their entire staff. 
Open Works received an emergency bridge loan from Deutsch Foundation, which allowed them to re-engage 3 furloughed staff with this new activity related to the virus, as well as 2 additional people, who are all partially supported by at-cost revenue from mask sales. The project also heavily relies on volunteers with 3D printers, who are printing from their homes across the state of Maryland. 

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