Pandemic Products

An overview video that shows how viruses such as Covid-19 can easily and rapidly spread on surfaces

Before you embark on your creative challenge, we are going to explore Armie - the hands-free handle design by Print City
Participate in the below challenge or use it as inspiration to devise your own

Follow the below steps to design your solution to limit the spread of viruses on surfaces

In this tutorial you will learn how to design Armie in Fusion 360 software.

In this tutorial you will learn how to design a simplified version of Armie in Tinkercad software.

Introducing Armie

Print City is an innovative hub of additive and digital manufacturing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Having witnessed some fantastic examples of rapid prototyping to support the fight against COVID-19 (such as PPE face shields), they wanted to identify other simple ways in which makers can help to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

Based on the theory that Coronavirus is said to live on hard surfaces for 72 hours, Print City set out on a mission to design a hands-free design that promotes the user to use their arm to open the door or drawer instead of their hand. This means that although the virus may be transferred to the arm, there’s less potential that it will come in contact with the user’s nose or mouth. Through a rigorous process of design iteration and testing, Armie was born.



Instead of adopting nuts and bolts, the design utilises cable ties to secure it to the handle. This means there’s less contact with the 3D printed part when installing it and allows it to be attached to a wide range of handle profiles. Additionally, the design is suitable for most 3D printing processes and will fit on a wide range of printer build plates.


armie - a 3d printed hands-free handle design by print city

The Challenge

Design and manufacture a solution that limits the spread of viruses on a chosen object or surface.



Criteria & Constraints

  • The solution can be made up of multiple materials and fasteners but must be predominantly 3D printed
  • The solution must be for an object/surface that is not a door or drawer handle
  • The solution must allow the object/surface to be used without the risk of viruses transmitting onto the hand


armie - a solution to limit the spread of viruses such as covid-19 on handles

STEP 1: Assemble Armie

The first step is to assemble your own Armie on a door or drawer handle. The purpose of this activity is to help you to understand the technical aspects of a successful solution, which may inspire some of your own ideas later on. Download the 3D model and assembly instruction files from the link below. If you are a Tinkercad user, use the simplified version.

Download Armie Files

STEP 2: Improve Armie

Download the below worksheet and use it to thoroughly analyse Armie and suggest improvements to suit your specific handle. Then follow one of the CAD tutorial videos in this resources to create your own 3D model of Armie. Finally, go back and make the changes you suggested on your CAD model before 3D printing your improved version.

Download Analysis Worksheet

STEP 3: Create a Storyboard

To identify a purposeful object to design a solution for, storyboard your typical daily routine - highlighting the objects you touch that have the potential to spread viruses. Use the below worksheet as a template to draw your storyboard before using research to list the surface type and estimated number of users of each object.

Download Storyboard Template

STEP 4: Product Selection

Use scissors to cut out each object entry on your storyboard. Place the objects in order of priority in terms of their danger to the public, considering number of potential users, surface type and other factors. By also thinking about feasibility, your goal is to narrow the objects down to a single one to design a solution for.

STEP 5: Define Criteria & Constraints

You now need to create a list of design criteria and constraints. Simulate alternative movements that could be used to use the object, making notes on both the movement and contact point. Additionally, you should take any key measurements required and ask potential users any relevant questions that might help inform the design.

STEP 6: Sketch

With a clear set of design criteria and constraints to work from, generate multiple design options in the form of annotated sketches. Think creatively and divergently to come up with completely different ideas. Then take these ideas to potential users for feedback and develop the most promising idea into a final sketch option.

STEP 7: Make

Using CAD software and 3D printing, make a prototype of your final sketch option. If required, refer back to the CAD tutorials in this resource for technical tips.

STEP 8: Iterate

The final stage is to assemble, test and analyse your product before developing new and improved versions in an iterative process.