America Makes Unveils Two Challenges for Additive Manufacturing Amidst Crisis

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

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

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,” says 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.”   

Fit to Face-Mask Design Challenge: Now until April 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 Challenge, the 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 a 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,” says Wilczynski. “The goal of the Fit to Face-Mask Design Challenge is to rapidly innovate face mask designs with quality solutions that ensure a proper fit and better seal around 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 p.m. on Sunday, April 26, 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 here.   

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 two-day virtual make-a-thon event May 2-3. During the event, teams will fabricate prototypes of their solutions that are suitable for rapid manufacturing.  

While this is an opportunity for the AM community to showcase their innovation, the 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 Eligibility 

This is an open source challenge. All 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 package, including 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

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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