While baseball is loved by people of all ages, I’ve always associated it primarily with childhood. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of going to baseball games with my dad, and of playing long games with my softball team until the sun went down. Now, most professional baseball players are younger than I am, a fact that I still can’t quite accept, but it’s a sport that is loved by youth, which is why it’s so appropriate that a group of high school students were the winners of a contest to design a trophy for their world championship Kansas City Royals.
The contest was sponsored by 3Diligent, which is run by Cullen and Wyatt Hilkene, who grew up in Kansas City. When the Royals won the World Series, the Hilkenes felt they needed to do something to commemorate the historic event from their office in El Segundo, California.
“Having grown up in Kansas City and going through a 30-year championship drought, we talked about how incredible it was to win the World Series,” said CEO Cullen Hilkene. “With our unique access to the best plastic and metal printers, hosting a contest just felt like the right thing to do.”
The winning design was submitted by a trio of high school students from Kansas City’s Pembroke Hill School. Samuel Hrabko, Raghav Parikh, and Momin Tahirkheli designed a trophy that beautifully illustrates the love the city’s baseball fans have for their team. The design is shaped like a layer cake, held up at the base by several figures representing Royals fans. Above them, on the bottom layer, are the words “Supported by the Fans,” which the team will surely acknowledge as true after a season driven by feverish fan enthusiasm – 800,000 people showed up for the championship parade, nearly 40% of the city’s metro population. The trophy also features the last names of every player on the Royals’ 25-man roster, as well as to-scale buildings from the Kansas City skyline and a crown at the very top.
“The students absolutely captured the essence of the contest,” said Hilkene. “Their design really lends itself to industrial grade 3D Printing with all of the customization and detail. It perfectly celebrates the team and the way the community rallied around them.”
It was teacher Bill Griffiths’ idea for the students to participate in the contest. Griffiths teaches a course on 3D printing, and when he heard about the competition, he decided it would be the perfect way to celebrate the championship while keeping his students engaged with the curriculum.
“Using class time for the KC Trophy was an easy decision,” he said. “The students were so excited about the Royals – as was the entire city – that the contest presented the perfect opportunity to incorporate organic student interest into the classroom…It is a lot of fun as a teacher to observe students thinking outside the box to solve a problem. Often I see four or five different approaches to a given project, and some are quite clever.”
The winning students’ creative approach won them the grand prize of $500 cash, plus $1,000 in credit to use on 3Diligent’s platform. The students all agreed that they would use some of the credit for a few personal projects, then put the rest towards printing something for the school. As for the cash, Hrabko plans to use his to build his own computer, and Takerheli is using his for a time-honored championship tradition: “I’m going to Disney World, man!” Discuss this design in the KC Royals 3D Printed Trophy forum on 3DPB.com.