Arguably the most popular place to share 3D printed files, Thingiverse, is presenting challenges to its community to use their skills in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is an immense need for creative solutions to help keep frontline workers in the COVID-19 pandemic safe. Challenges are being created for the Thingiverse community to contribute their designs and ideas. This week we challenge you to design a face covering that can be easily printed and combined with cloth or filtering material. The design should include assembly instructions and be compatible with items easily found in a home environment. Tag your thing with #FaceCoveringChallenge,” an announcement on Thingiverse reads.

A Thingiverse Group called HackThePandemic has been made for people to discuss these weekly challanges, the work done so far, and what can be made in the future.

We’ve of course already seen how 3D printing can be used to re-imagine existing Person Protection Equipment (PPE) ideas. Here in South Africa for example, local company Fouche 3D Printing is pumping out 500 face shield frames per day. These frames were combined with a visor and headband to quickly make these important items.

At the time of writing the Face Covering Challenge has around 200 things already made so far, which you can browse here.

Aside from adapting household items for PPE use we’re seeing a lot of clever stuff done here to increase comfort and add a bit of fun to what feels like a hopeless situation. Doing things like making your mask look like Immortan Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road may seem silly right now, but it’s a nice morale boost for those sick of wearing masks.

If you want to take part simply head on over to Thingiverse to get get involved.

[Image – CC 4.0 Andrei Be]