A Bridgewater Studio employee works on the face shield production line at the McKinley Park-based fabrication business.

Fabrication Studio Makes Face Shields to Help Chicago Fight Pandemic

Published March 26, 2020

Bridgewater Studio face protection mask profileA Bridgewater Studio employee demonstrates the fabricator's face shield design.Bridgewater Studio, a custom fabrication business in the McKinley Park neighborhood of Chicago, has transitioned its machinery and know-how toward making protective face shields for the City of Chicago's first responders. Working from an approved design by a New York City fabricator, Bridgewater Studio plans to manufacture 150,000 face shields by Wednesday, April 8.

“This is a situation where we need to protect and maintain the health and safety of our first responders and health care professionals if we, as a community, are going to be successful in this crisis,” said Eric Cup, managing partner at Bridgewater Studio. 

Bridgewater Studio, which located to McKinley Park in 2017, is a rapidly growing design and production shop that creates bespoke objects and installations for an international clientele. It was previously featured in an October 2019 Local Business Profile here in the McKinley Park News.

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The face shields it is producing for Chicago are adapted through its partnership with Bednark Studio in New York City, which created an easy-to-manufacture face shield design that received approval from the New York State Department of Health.

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Employees at Bridgewater Studio designed and assembled their own prototype as the basis for the face shields they will manufacture. These shields will be boxed and donated for contactless pickup or delivery from the shop's location at 1719 W. 35th St., Chicago.

Bridgewater Studio is still trying to source key materials to enable manufacturing the face shields. Cup asked anyone with information on the following items to get in touch about immediate delivery to Bridgewater Studio:

  • 3/4-inch or 1-inch elastic band, up to 100,000 yards
  • 1-inch by 1-inch adhesive-backed foam, up to 90,000 linear feet
  • Sheets of PETG plastic at 0.02-inch or 0.03-inch thickness

“We’re grateful as a company that we can immediately pivot and offer support to anyone who is caring for the health and safety of our entire community,” Cup said.

A laser cutter at Bridgewater Studio cuts face shields from plastic sheeting.

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