America Makes Announces Two Challenges to Mobilize Additive Manufacturing Community to Assist Frontline Workers

April 20, 2020 | Categories: America Makes News

Challenges to address face mask issues for health care workers and COVID-19 related problems for first responders  

YOUNGSTOWN, OH — April 20, 2020 – As part of its continued effort to garner the innovation of the additive manufacturing (AM) industry to deliver safe and effective solutions to front line workers across the country, America Makes is announcing two challenges – the Fit to Face – Mask Design Challenge in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs; and the COVID-19 Maker Challenge, a joint event by Challenge America and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Innovation Ecosystem.  

“Both of these opportunities seek to tap into the amazing innovation we’ve seen to date from the entire AM community during this crisis,” said America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski. “This industry is uniquely positioned to take on these challenges as we have the ability to rapidly design and test products that will solve very real problems for frontline workers.”   

America Makes Innovation Sprint: Fit to Face-Mask Design Challenge – April 20 – 26, 2020  

The America Makes Innovation Sprint: Fit to Face—Mask Design Challenge is one of two rapid response challenges being announced this week to rally the AM community to find innovation solutions in response to the COVID-19 crisis. With the Fit to Face—Mask Design Challengethe AM design community is being rallied to help find a solution to the most critical PPE need at this time. How masks fit and conform to the shape of a user’s face has been factor that has influenced designs. This challenge is calling on the community to collectively find a solution to this important design factor for 3D printed face masks.  

“Right now, in the fight against COVID-19 in this country and around the world, the greatest and most acute PPE need is face masks,” said America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski. “The goal of the Fit to FaceMask Design Challenge is to rapidly innovate face mask designs with quality solutions that ensure a proper fit and better seaaround the face. 

Five critical geometries and dimensions used in the manufacturing of N95 masks will be made available to challenge participants for them to develop up to three masks. Submissions will be accepted until 11:59 PM on Sunday, April 26th with five designs going to the VA for fast track review and testing, and the top design(s) being announced on May 11, 2020. Interested participants can find more information at and below.   

Challenge America and VHA Innovation Ecosystem COVID-19 Makers Challenge – April 25 – May 3, 2020 

America Makes is proud to promote the COVID-19 Makers Challenge, an event being hosted jointly by Challenge America and the VHA Innovation Ecosystem. The event is calling on teams to both submit potential problems stemming from COVID-19 that face first responders and develop innovative solutions to address them. 

The challenge will launch on April 25 with teams conducting weeklong virtual evaluations of challenges and culminate with a twoday virtual makeathon event May 2 – 3. During the event, teams will fabricate prototypes of their solutions that are suitable for rapid manufacturing.  

While this is a prime opportunity for the AM community to showcase their innovationthe challenge is also open to subject matter experts in engineering, industrial design, manufacturing, health care and other related industries 

To find more information, register and or submit a challenge, visit  

**Fit to Face Mask Design Challenge Information ** 


This is an open source challengeAll innovators, 3D printers, and designers in the U.S. and abroad are encouraged to participate. All submissions must be open-source designs. 

Challenge Data Package 

A Challenge data packageincluding Instructions for Use (IFUs), design guidance information including NIOSH head form data dimensions, submission requirements, and evaluation criteria, is available on the America Makes website at 


This is a rapid response challenge with aggressive deadlines. Challenge submissions are due via the America Makes website at on Sunday, April 26, 2020, before 11:59 p.m. EDT. Submissions received after this deadline will not be considered.   

America Makes will narrow all submissions to five finalists on Friday, May 1, 2020, before close of business and submit to the VA. These five finalists will be fast tracked through the VA, FDA, and NIH testing and review process. Pending the testing results, America Makes will announce the top design(s) on Monday, May 11, 2020.  


All questions related to the Fit to Face—Mask Design Challenge should be directed to 


About America Makes 

Driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation InstituteAs the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) based in Youngstown, Ohio, America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. Comprised of member organizations from industry, academia, government, non-government agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, the America Makes membership community is working together to innovate and accelerate AM to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness. America Makes is the first of eight Manufacturing Innovation Institutes established and program managed by the U.S. Department of Defense as public-private partnerships. America Makes is also a member of the Manufacturing USA® network, which seeks to secure U.S. global leadership in advanced manufacturing. For more information about America Makes, visit and follow @AmericaMakes on Twitter. 

About NCDMM 

NCDMM delivers innovative and collaborative manufacturing solutions that enhance our nation’s workforce and economic competitiveness. NCDMM has extensive knowledge and depth in manufacturing areas—both commercial and defense—to continually innovate, improve, and advance manufacturing technologies and methodologies. Our experienced team specializes in identifying the needs, the players, the technologies, and processes to attain optimal solutions for our customers. We connect the dots. That’s the NCDMM methodology. NCDMM also manages the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP), America Makes—the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. For additional information, visit the NCDMM at and follow @NCDMMnews on Twitter. 

About the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a federal Cabinet-level agency that provides near-comprehensive healthcare services to eligible military veterans at VA medical centers and outpatient clinics located throughout the country; several non-healthcare benefits including disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, education assistance, home loans, and life insurance; and provides burial and memorial benefits to eligible veterans and family members at 135 national cemeteries. Learn more about the VA and its mission at 

About Challenge America  

Challenge America is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with the mission to connect service members, veterans and their families to resources and solutions that build community and give purpose to their lives. From the beginning, Challenge America set out to challenge the status quo by designing and scaling innovative, evidence-based solutions to the needs of the military community. By leveraging technology and community solidarity, they are challenging America to think differently about how we serve our military. Challenge America is primarily funded through contributions from generous individuals, corporations and foundations.  


America Makes Media Contact:
Andrew Resnick