Library uses 3D printers to make masks for first responders and essential workers

The shortage of masks around the world, has Contra Costa County looking for creative solutions to help supply critically needed masks to first responders and other essential workers in the community.

The County received a supply of surgical masks that needed elastic bands, but had no way to attach them, so Health Services Administrator Josh Sullivan designed a clip that can be printed on a 3D printer. The clip is used to attach the elastic to the masks.

Now the Contra Costa County Library is using three 3D printers to mass produce the clips. The clips take about 10 minutes each to print and the printer can create 35 per batch.

Laura McKeegan, Information Systems Project Manager for the Library, has the printers at her house running nearly 24 hours a day.

“I will usually try to start a long print right before going to bed to maximize print time,” Laura says. “My husband even helps to keep an eye on them.”

Josh and Laura are now working on printing Montana masks.  The masks have the ability to extend a single surgical mask into six uses and is itself reusable.

“Laura and the Library have been absolutely amazing in rising to the call and scaling up our production significantly,” said Josh.

So far, the Library has printed about 1600 clips and 28 masks.

If you are a community maker with a 3D printer and interested in printing masks to donate, please contact Josh Sullivan at