The Innovation Lab produces thousands of cloth masks for regional workers

Author: Emily Tyson

The Kern laser cutter can produce 850 masks in a single pass.


The Innovation Lab is active again, supporting the needs of the South Bend and Elkhart community. For the past week or so, the Lab's large format laser cutter, a Kern OptiFlex 350W, has been busy cutting cloth face masks. When the project ends, the Lab will have produced almost 150,000 of the masks. 

The project began when a local entrepreneur reached out to Lab Director Matt Leevy. The Lab's staff quickly responded to the request for help, and worked with the client to ensure the masks could be produced to their specifications and in the volume they required.

Cloth face masks.
Cloth face masks.

10 layers of specialty fabric are cut at a time, producing 850 masks at a single pass. The masks are designed with ear loops and a small hole for proper orientation when wearing.

The masks will be distributed to thousands of workers in the South Bend-Elkhart region.

This collective effort in the Lab is another example of its unique position in the community as a vital resource for anyone who needs to translate their idea into an object, or their design into a reality.