About Northumberland.io

Northumberland.io is an online platform for mobilizing community action in response to COVID-19. “Dot I O” means “input-output”: with your help we can make a difference and have real grassroots impact when it is needed the most. Our Producer Alliance has provided this online infrastructure (created in 2020) to assist with mass vaccination efforts underway in Northumberland in 2021.

This page provides you with the background on how it all started, with emergency production of face shields.

We are a self-organized and innovative community-based network of manufacturers, makers and volunteers, dedicated to supporting community action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have wound down emergency PPE production operations at Venture13. We successfully produced 7,105 face shields to protect front-line workers in Northumberland, when no other supply lines were available. We are now working on the Vaccine Volunteers Initiative.

We are no longer seeking additional volunteers for PPE production, but volunteers are needed for mass vaccination efforts. Click here for more information.

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Our Story

The Northumberland.io Producer Alliance is a self-organized group of local manufacturers, makers, engineers, producers and volunteers who came together to rapidly innovate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by passion for our community, the group shared ideas, resources, expertise and production capacity (including rapid prototyping equipment/3D printers) to create a local supply chain for the production and delivery of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)—principally face shields.

This community-driven and donation-based initiative was mobilized in late March to address an immediate critical shortage experienced by front-line workers. Many of the volunteers and partners were already working together through the community and platform established by Venture13 Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre. With this collaborative framework already in place, it was possible for the partners to quickly coordinate a group of impassioned volunteers.

The multiple partners “leaned in” to work together (though remotely!) in a highly fluid situation to find local solutions that would support hospitals, long-term care facilities and retirement communities, first responders and essential services in our community.

Retired Cobourg industrialist Brian Read was quick to marshal the partners while playing a pivotal, leading role in contributing his manufacturing expertise, business knowledge and relationships. He helped to rapidly initialize, stabilize and advance a supply chain while supporting the efforts of many to a common purpose.

Chris Daniel

Leveraging the pioneering efforts of Chris Daniel, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Durham College—whose crowdfunding campaign and outreach gained widespread attention—and with the support of Chris Gillis, P. Eng, a driving force for collaborative innovation at Venture13—information, advice and best practices were willingly shared with Northumberland.io partners, volunteers and quiet leaders through virtual meetings and calls. With multiple printers up and running across our County, Professor Daniel further assisted by contributing a high volume of components that added value to the local supply chain and distribution capacity of the alliance in responding to local need. 

Local manufacturers like SABIC Innovative Plastics donated strategic materials such as polycarbonate sheets, without which we could not have moved forward. The industrial community contributed time, labour, machines and materials as did a huge number of civilian volunteers. We cannot thank you enough.

The Northumberland.io producer alliance is the epitome of .IO (input-output) where innovators embrace advanced technologies like 3D-printing and rapid prototyping in actually making a difference: with the input of an entire network we get the output of emergency production of critical supplies.

Participating Organizations and Individuals

· ADL Insulflex Inc.
· Argentum Electronics
· Belden
· Canadian Wear Technologies
· Cobourg Police Service
· Custom Plastics International
· Durham College & Community 3DP Task Force
· Microfactory Co-operative at the Venture13 MakerLab
· Millard Towers
· Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC)
· Northumberland Hills Hospital
· Northumberland Hills Hospital Foundation
· Northumberland Makers
· Northumberland Manufacturers Association
· Orono Design
· Sabic Innovative Plastics Canada Inc.
· Sewn to a T
· Team Eagle Ltd.
· Town of Cobourg
· Watershed Magazine

Click here to see a list of our individual volunteers.

Final Production Report

Highest AVG daily production volume achieved


% increase in volume of production since launch

Total # of face shields produced by Northumberland.io

Financial Report – Northumberland Producer Alliance Face Shield Campaign

To the Community,

I’m pleased to provide this final financial reconciliation of the Northumberland Producers Alliance face shield campaign which was administered by our organization (Northumberland CFDC) on behalf of all.

View a PDF of the Campaign Financial Statement

Again, thank you for your donations and support for this extraordinary effort.

John Hayden, Northumberland CFDC

An Open Letter to Northumberland.io Face Shield Volunteers

For two solid months, our producer alliance was the sole source of face shields for front-line workers in Northumberland.

Looking back, it is hard to believe that our community faced critical shortages of personal protective equipment, and that such an urgent need would be met by a spontaneous effort of passionate volunteers. For a solid two months, Northumberland.io was the sole producer and distributor of face shields to our hospitals, our long-term care facilities and retirement communities, to our first responders and essential workers. We did it for them.

This extraordinary alliance succeeded because of so many crucial factors: that we could draw on the supply chain, procurement, production, quality control and distribution knowledge and expertise that we are so lucky to have embedded in our community, because we set out from the beginning to set up robust processes (an automated online platform, serious risk management strategies including policies and procedures and regulatory compliance), because we were able to operate out of the Venture13 MakerLab as our centre of operations, because our community of innovators already understood how to collaborate and work together utilizing ready technology and talent, because we “moved at the speed of trust” across many long nights and through much uncertainty… because our local manufacturing leadership came forward immediately and made the critical decision at the outset to supply strategic materials and components like polycarbonate sheets, because they diverted supplies to us, because they contributed their heavy machines, their specialized equipment, their brilliant people… because they opened their doors, their labs, their offices and their shop floors. At a time of near total supply chain deprivation and fear of community spread of the coronavirus, we could not have moved forward without them.

And most importantly, this project succeeded because of the people—because of you, the volunteers who worked tirelessly day in and day out, night in and night out, no matter how exhausted or strained you were. You never wavered. When we look back on the onset of COVID-19 and the early days of the emergency order, I want the world to remember our teams of 3D printers (young and old, teachers and makers, students and retirees, entrepreneurs and engineers) at home or in their workshops churning out parts and components… remember the cadres of sewers feverishly finishing buttonhole elastic bands… recall the individuals and families who reached into their wallets to generously donate funds to the campaign… the volunteers endlessly assembling hundreds and hundreds of face shields with bruised hands… the drivers who brought these donations to our front-line workers right across the rolling hills of our county, from end to end… and the smiles on the faces of those who received their cheerful multi-coloured gear.

With pride we can state that our face shields were not just adequate or provisional or satisfactory: they were awesome. We didn’t settle for “good enough.” We continuously innovated, improved the design and made sure we adhered to the highest standards. We received a Class 1 Medical Device Establishment License from the Government of Canada. Our MPP acknowledged our efforts in the Provincial Legislature where they will be immortalized in the public record, we were recognized by our local media, by Ryan Reynolds on Twitter and in the pages of the Houston Chronicle, and by Prusa on their webpage celebrating how their free and open source design fuelled international community efforts to supply PPE. We put Northumberland on the map once again. And the feedback we received from healthcare practitioners and emergency responders was that our face shields were simply the best. Donations were received with sincere thanks and appreciation by all front-line workers. Your letters and emails and photos gave us heart.

There is so much to be proud of in this effort—not least of which was that a local grassroots movement solved a problem in real time that large-scale public and private sector systems could not. We acted with courage and resolve, with ingenuity and innovation. We stoked the fires of production, utilized cutting edge technology, and we made our face shields in Northumberland (with some help from our great friends in Durham Region, of course). But that is the point: we are all in this together and we always were. We’re stronger together and our community is capable of great things. If there is future need, we know we can rely on our alliance of producers to step once more unto the breach.

~JH, for Northumberland.io and the organizing committee, with boundless thanks to all who made this possible.

Assembly, Delivery and Support

· Anderson, Sharon
· Armstrong, Tony
· Barrington, Fionna
· Besso, Dan
· Blackadder, Derek
· Bouman, Ashley
· Brown, Judy
· Bulger, Dan
· Burgess, Mark
· Cardy, Linda
· Charlton, John
· Collins, Joanne
· Cragg, Theresa
· Crawford, Neil
· Cunningham, Dave
· Cunningham, Rhonda
· Darrell, Jennifer
· Daughter, Linda
· Elliott, Charles
· Ford, Lena
· Geisterfer, Mike
· Greaves, Elizabeth
· Grice, David
· Hanley, Brenda
· Hanley, Paul
· Holbrook, Keith
· Homer, Martyn
· Hunter, Betsy
· Husband, Elaine
· Husband, Isabelle
· Jarvis, Graham
· Kay, Lynda
· van Laren, Paul
· Lee, Gary
· Lotton, Chris
· Marling, Deborah
· Martin, Fran
· Martin, Riley
· Martin, Tina
· McCracken, Royce
· McLean, Judy
· McLean, Missy
· McLean, Tom
· Pareja, Mario
· Rhude, Laura
· Russell, Jack
· Searle, Melissa and Dad
· Slade, Helen
· Sleight, Elizabeth
· Smith, Katherine
· Smith, Madeleine
· Stafford, Joan

3D Printing

· Adams, Niel
· Elliott, Charles
· Ferguson, Jane
· Fingus, James
· Fowlie, Jeremy
· Geisterfer, Mike
· Greetech, James
· Grice, David
· Harley, Trevor
· Ibrahim, Bolis
· Jarvis, Graham
· Kerr, Mike & Catherine
· Lachance, Kelson
· Lean, Rick
· Lennick, David
· MacGregor, Alex
· Mandryk, Phil
· McCracken, Oscar
· McLeod, Shaun
· Moreland, Chris
· O’Rourke, Darren
· Papanicolaou, Alex
· Raymond, Arnaud
· Slade, Colin
· Stevens, Jeff
· Stubbs, Hunter
· Thomas, Cole
· Wade, Jamie
· Wallenburg, Anton


· Boyle, Jerry
· Chapman, Adam
· Curtis, Gerald
· Devison, Sean
· Elder, Nathaniel
· Harvey, Dan
· Holbrook, Keith
· Hooker, Chris
· Lee, Bill
· MacDonald, Kevin
· McQuoid, Jim
· Marten, Susan
· Parcels, Jesse
· Perun, Olea
· Preik, Quentin
· Wilson, Cody
· The Team at SABIC Innovative Plastics

Organizing Committee

· Curtis, Wendy
· Daniel, Chris
· Gillis, Chris
· Gissing, Catherine
· Hayden, John
· Mactavish, Bonnie
· Mandryk, Phil
· Read, Brian
· Slade, Colin