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Stratasys contest seeks 3D printing design ideas

2008 contest winner
Photo courtesy of Stratasys, Ltd.
Ashley Bredemus, of Grand Rapids, won the high-school engineering
category in 2008 for her "Rubik's Sphere for the Blind" design.

Stratasys, Ltd., a 3D printing equipment and materials manufacturer, recently launched its annual Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge, which awards winners with scholarship money.

Stratasys, whose U.S. headquarters is in Eden Prairie, requires contest applicants to use computer-aided design (CAD) software (software that allows the user to create 2D and 3D blueprints) to design or redesign a product that improves how a task is accomplished.

Stratasys Marketing Specialist Kim Killoran told Twin Cities Business that the contest is a way for Stratasys to build brand recognition and to foster student interest and involvement in design and 3D printing.

According to Killoran and the Stratasys’ contest website, the company is seeking product ideas that have a “sound mechanical design”; are creatively designed; present a twist on a current piece of art, architecture, or engineered product; and have a specific and achievable purpose.

The 2014 contest is open to three categories of applicants: middle- and high-school engineering students, college engineering students, and art and architecture students (in middle-school, high-school, and college). This year’s “bonus category” is “Extreme Sports,” in which Stratasys requests designs for products that would be useful during a sporting activity.

Each contest submission (from an individual student or a team of two) must include a stereolithography file of the product idea, a 200-word-or-more written description, and/or a 30-second video description of the product. The description must explain the product design or redesign, what purpose the product serves or what problem the product addresses, and why it improves upon an existing solution. For complete contest rules, click here.

Entrants have until February 6 to submit their ideas. In March, Stratasys will select 10 finalists in each of the three categories from the applicant pool. In April, a panel of independent industry judges will choose three winners among the finalists from each category. Stratasys awards the first place winners from each category with $2,500 in scholarship money; meanwhile, second and third place winners receive $1,000 in scholarship money. All contest winners will also be featured on Stratasys’ website and their designs will be printed on a Stratasys 3D printer. Other prizes include $250 and $50 gift cards.

Killoran said that while Stratasys won’t turn the contest ideas into commercial products, the company will use the designs for promotional purposes and to demonstrate how Stratasys’ 3D printing technology works.

The first place winners of the 2013 Extreme Redesign contest college engineering category were Andrew Roderick and Brian Booth of Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Details of the team’s design, named “Crawler 2.0,” are confidential while the concept is under recommendation for a potential licensing agreement, according to Stratasys’ website.

The winner of the art and architecture category was Connor Nicholas of Savannah College of Art & Design in Savannah, Georgia. Nicholas’ “Emergent Automated Manufacturing” design uses 3D printing to create a multi-dimensional additive manufacturing process—a way to print a building in a serial manner that uses local materials, reduces energy and waste, and controls quality at a high resolution, Stratasys said.

Twin Cities BusinessJosh Ryan, of Grand Haven High School in Michigan took first in last year’s middle- and high-school engineering category. Ryan designed a magnesium fire starter meant to be a weatherproof, portable, and durable alternative to other fire starter options.

Other 2013 winning ideas included a mathematical board game, an easy-open bottle cap, and a “snack cup” based on the typical travel mug design.

After Stratasys merged with Israel-based 3D-printing company Objet, Ltd., in December, the 3D printing company continued its growth with a large acquisition. In June, it purchased industry competitor MakerBot in a stock transaction worth approximately $403 million. Following the merger, Stratasys said it planned to add 80 to 100 employees by the end of the year. In addition to its Eden Prairie office, Stratasys maintains a corporate headquarters in Rehovot, Israel. 

This article is reprinted in partnership with Twin Cities Business.

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