NIST awards $1.4M grant to America Makes for medical gear

NIST awards $1.4M grant to America Makes for medical gear

U.S. Secretary of Commerce announces National Institute of Standards and Technology grant to continue safe, effective 3D printed PPE.


America Makes has received a $1.4 million grant from the United States Department of Commerce’s National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), announced by United States Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross during a press conference at the America Makes facility in Youngstown, Ohio. The grant will help America Makes continue work to address personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages because of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing America Makes to work with small and medium sized manufacturers to better position them for the on-going crisis and future ones.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic we have seen additive manufacturers (AM) across the country respond to deliver safe and effective PPE, showing how AM can be the solution to help solve critical supply chain gaps,” said America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski. “We are extremely honored to receive the NIST grant to continue this important work.”

Since March, America Makes has worked alongside the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to coordinate guidance for the AM community and provide a vehicle to download reviewed 3D print PPE designs. To date the effort has had the following results:

  • 31 designs have been optimized for clinical use; 28 designs have been optimized for community
  • 499,166 units of AM products have been matched, including 229,995 non-N95 masks and 272,607 face shields
  • Over 95,743 file downloads, and over 1,112,651 views on the NIH 3D Print Exchange                                         

“Thank you for your swift action in rebuilding our medical and protective equipment supply chains as a result of the COVID-19 emergency,” stated Secretary Ross during his remarks. “You teamed up with the VA, FDA, and NIH to optimize 31 PPE designs for clinical use, including 28 for production by the additive manufacturing community. This was no small feat, and I congratulate each of you for what you have accomplished here in Youngstown, and across the Manufacturing USA network.”

The announcement followed an earlier tour of America Makes and the Youngstown Business Incubator facilities to highlight the regional AM ecosystem. The Secretary’s visit also included a business roundtable at the America Makes facility hosted by the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce.