An assistive technology design challenge for students, brought to you by PrintLab and Autodesk

get making


with humans and their day-to-day challenges


how to use design-thinking to solve problems


solutions driven by digital technologies


products that are enhanced by modern manufacturing

the challenge.

Start Date: 1st September 2020 Submission Deadline: 1st April 2021

Design and make a product or prototype that improves the day-to-day life of someone who struggles with mobility in their hands. **Please note that the challenge deadline has passed. However, if you wish to use the challenge toolkit materials, please continue to sign up to gain access. Further details on make:able v2 can be found here:**

register for free

the toolkit.

Going beyond a competition, make:able centres around an online challenge toolkit, which takes students through a step-by-step process to design and make an assistive device. From explainer and case study videos to 3D design tutorials and design-thinking templates, students will be equipped with all the training and resources to become creative and technical problem solvers with empathy for the world around us.



Students are introduced to the challenge, guidelines and toolkit, before assembling their teams and allocating roles.

get inspired

Students are provided with in-depth context of 3D printing and assistive technology, including case studies and example solutions.

build 3D design skills

Students build technical skills by participating in video tutorials to design example devices in Autodesk software.


find a challenge

Students learn how to find a challenge. This can be challenges for users in their local community or make:able user challenges.

develop empathy

Students are provided with a range of activities to truly understand the difficulties their end user faces with day-to-day activities.

design a solution

Students learn how to turn their empathy studies into design ideas by using human-centred problem solving methods.

make a product

Students are guided in planning and designing their prototypes in Tinkercad or Fusion 360 software, before making and iterating.

tell your story

Students are given advice on how to tell their story, before submitting their portfolios via an online form.

challenge details.

Here is some key information about the make:able challenge. *Register for free to access the teacher's pack and challenge toolkit*

who is the challenge for?

The challenge is for all students (in any country) up to the age of 18. There are 2 categories – Under 13 and 13-18. If students in a class are divided between these age categories, we can accept their entries into a single category of your choice. Parents and organisations other than schools are also welcome to enter children into the challenge.

does it cost anything to enter?

Absolutely not, make:able and all associated resources are completely free.

do students need to design a product for a real end user?

Students can either design a product for a real end user (e.g. someone in their local community), or design a product for a make:able user. Make:able users are people with disabilities who have shared their story and day-to-day challenges in a series of videos within the make:able challenge toolkit.

what are the rules?

The full brief and guidelines are outlined in the teacher’s pack and challenge toolkit but the key rules are as follows:

• Students may work in teams of up to 5 people in the same age category.

• The design process must include the use of either Tinkercad or Fusion 360 software and the digital 3D model produced should be 3D printable.

• A physical prototype must be created. A 3D printed output is encouraged but if this is not possible, alternative methods may be used (e.g. hand-modelling). Additionally, 3D printing can be combined with other materials and processes, such as electronics, to create the product.

what is the submission format?

The submission format is a 4-6 page portfolio (A3 size or equivalent) of work with the option to include additional links to media such as videos/blogs. Submissions are uploaded by students via an online form in the challenge toolkit. The judging criteria is stated in both the teacher’s pack and challenge toolkit.

will I receive lesson plans/ teaching material?

Upon signing up, you will receive access to the teacher’s pack. This will provide you with a full teacher’s guide and a range of standards-aligned lesson plans and workshop templates that cater for different teaching formats, age groups and abilities (including complete beginners). It should be noted that the lesson plans and challenge toolkit can be used as little or as much as you like. As long as the brief and guidelines are adhered to, feel free to create your own pathway for students.

how much time do I need to allocate for the challenge?

Our approach is to be flexible on how much time your students spend on their submissions. However, we recommend that a minimum of 4 x ≈ 1 hour sessions are allocated to the make:able challenge.

are there prizes to be won?

Portfolio submissions will be judged by a global panel of industry experts in April 2021 and winners will be announced in May 2021. There are a total of 6 prizes to be awarded for each age group (under 13/13-18). Prizes are under consideration but will include 3D printers and other technology products for the schools/organisations of the winning teams. Please register and see the teacher’s pack or challenge toolkit for a breakdown of the prize categories.

do I need any 3D design or 3D printing experience?

Experience in 3D design and 3D printing is not required. If you go through the preliminary activities stated in the teacher’s guide, you and your students will gain all the necessary skills to take on the make:able challenge.