Printlab Autodesk

1 – Introduction

Welcome to the 2023 Make:able challenge! We’re delighted to have you here and we look forward to supporting you in designing and making life-improving devices for people with disabilities. Let’s jump right in and give you an overview of what Make:able is all about. Check out the video below.


The brief for the Make:able challenge is to ‘Design and make a 3D printed product or prototype that improves the day-to-day life of someone with a disability or the elderly‘. Download the full brief below to learn more about the challenge, design criteria, award categories, judging and equipment required. Additional FAQs are also listed below and if you have any further questions, feel free to email us at

Download Brief



Make:able and all associated resources are completely free. We may however recommend supplementary content that may support you, such as PrintLab’s 3D printing curriculum.

End Users

You can either design a product for a real end user (e.g. someone in your local community), or design a product for a Make:able Champion. Make:able Champions 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.


Our approach is to be flexible on how much time you spend on your submission. However, we recommend that a minimum of 6 x ≈ 1 hour sessions are allocated to the make:able challenge.

Experience Required

Experience in 3D design and 3D printing is helpful but not required. 3D design tutorials are included within the toolkit and additional training resources are also recommended in the challenge materials.

Model Sharing

Although you are designing a solution for one person, the likelihood is that it could benefit many more people around the world! At the end of the challenge, we’ll be selecting a range of submissions to be uploaded to Makers Making Change’s open source model platform so others can use and adapt your designs. If your model is selected, we will of course seek your permission before doing this.

Assemble your Team

Assemble your team and allocate each person a specific role. Everyone can participate in each section of the journey but it can be beneficial to have people 'in charge' of different areas. For example, you might have a lead 3D CAD specialist, a lead project manager and a lead video creator.

makeable challenge toolkit

Understand the Toolkit

Browse through each section of the toolkit before you begin the challenge. A brief scan through will suffice as you will be going through the content in detail as you progress.

Create a Footage Strategy

Having a strategy in place to document your journey will be greatly helpful when it comes to creating your submission video. Think carefully about what equipment you will use and how you will capture footage. Section 8 of the toolkit has plenty of advice and examples to guide you.

Develop an Outline Plan

Bearing in mind the time you have available for the challenge, write down a brief outline plan that highlights when you might work on each stage of the design process.

The next step is to identify an end user to design for and there are 2 options to do this. The first and most effective way is to find an end user in your local community. Remember that you should be able to communicate with this person regularly, whether this be online or in-person and ideally, they’d be able to test your prototypes and provide constructive feedback to help you reach a final solution that fits their needs. Take a look at some of the ideas below, which highlight a range of places you might find meaningful design challenges.

Family + Friends

Does someone in your team have any family members or friends who struggle with a disability? This might be a child, cousin or even a grandparent.

Schools + Libraries

Teachers or staff members who have a good understanding of the people in your school, library or organisation may be able to support you in finding an end user to design for.

Disability Organisations

Use the internet to search for local disability organisations who can connect you with end users. You may wish to search for organisations that support specific disabilities such as arthritis.


Many hospitals have rehabilitation centers who may be willing to connect you to patients. If you decide on reaching out to a hospital, ensure you research what departments are available before finding the relevant contact details.

Care Homes

Local care homes may be able to connect you with elderly individuals who struggle with a range of disabilities or the effects of ageing.

Online Communities

We are also happy for you to expand outside of the local community and design solutions for people who you can connect with online through disability platforms. Check out the design challenges on the Makers Making Change forum by clicking below to see if you can connect with an end user who is seeking solutions.

View Forum

Although finding a real end user is ideal, it might not always be possible, in which case you might want to look into option 2 – designing for a Make:able Champion. Make:able Champions are volunteers with various disabilities and they have kindly shared videos explaining their disability, together with the day-to-day challenges they face. By listening to their stories and observing their actions, you have the opportunity to design a solution for one of them. Further information is provided in the Develop Empathy Toolkit but for now, we’re delighted to introduce you to our 2023 Make:able Champions, Valerie and Bev.

Meet Valerie

Valeria is 66 years young, loves planting flowers and describes herself as a geek and problem solver! She has had rheumatoid arthritis since she was 3 years old and scoliosis for the last 20 years. She started using a wheelchair 3 years ago and since then her health and quality of life has declined.

Watch Valerie's Video

Meet Bev

Bev is 58 years young, works hard and enjoys the company of others. She had a stroke in 1994 and has used a wheelchair since then. Bev also has very limited range of motion in her arms and hands.

Watch Bev's Video


If you decide to design a solution for Valerie or Bev, you may not be able to meet them in-person. However, they have both kindly offered to answer any questions you might have. To submit a question to Valerie or Bev, please email them to We aim to respond within 7 days but please note that this cannot be guaranteed.

To complete your introduction to the Make:able challenge, check out these top 5 tips for designing assistive devices with 3D printing – courtesy of Dave Gaylord, Biomedical Engineer and VP of Product and Technology at MatterHackers.


Before moving on to the next toolkit, you should have achieved the below objectives.

  1. I have read the brief and fully understand the design thinking journey I will take throughout the Make:able challenge.
  2. I have assembled a team to work with and have an allocated role within the team.
  3. I understand the submission criteria and have a plan to document footage throughout the process.
  4. I have identified an end user to design for.

Go to Next Toolkit – Get Inspired