Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci.

There probably will never be another person alive like Leonardo da Vinci. He was born in a period of time quite unique in all of history, right in the midst of the Renaissance, and was gifted with an insatiable thirst for knowledge and the means to pursue it. In his lifetime he was called a painter, a sculptor, an architect, a scientist, a skilled musician, an engineer, a writer, a historian, an astronomer and a cartographer. He was also well versed in subjects as diverse as geology, anatomy, botany and mathematics. And of course he was a tireless inventor who imagined and designed countless devices that the world had never seen before, and likely wouldn’t see again until hundreds of years later.

In the spirit of da Vinci, GrabCAD and Stratasys Education are issuing a challenge to their users and asking them to try and get into his head and reinterpret one of his gear systems using modern 3D printing technology. Everything that da Vinci created was designed with Renaissance-era manufacturing technologies in mind, so the challenge is to adjust his designs without sacrificing how they work. Entries need to select the ideal 3D printing technology and the best material to recreate the da Vinci invention, while also considering tolerances, layer thickness and the mechanical properties of the final device.

GrabCAD and Stratasys Education present the da Vinci Gear System Challenge.

GrabCAD and Stratasys Education present the da Vinci Gear System Challenge.

The Goal of this Challenge is to create a working 3D printable gear system design based on one of Leonardo da Vinci’s original sketches. Once a sketch has been selected it needs to be converted and reproduced using CAD software. All designs should minimize the need for supports while optimizing the original design specifically for 3D printing technology. The design should take into account what type of 3D printer will be producing the components to maximize how well the finished project works. All of the design and testing needs to be documented and presented when the contest is entered.

Current challenge entries.

Current challenge entries.

To enter the contest, entrants need to go to GrabCAD and submit the project, include all design files (as an STL file), renderings and images of the 3D printed project. It also needs to include an explanation of the project, why the design choices were made and why the 3D printing technology used was selected. Projects should also include the original sketch that inspired the contest entry, including an explanation of how it was adapted. In order to win the design must be 3D printable using common 3D printing methods (FDM, SLS, SLA or PolyJet). It should only need a minimal amount of post processing, and require very few supports. Ultimately however, the project should be both imaginative and creative.gears

Ten contest entries have a chance to win cash money from the $2,500 prize pool, and all winners will receive tons of GrabCAD Swag. First prize will be awarded $1,000, second prize will get $750, third prize will get $500, fourth prize will get $150 and fifth prize will get $100. The sixth through tenth prize winners will receive GrabCAD Swag, and all cash awards will be made using PayPal. The entry deadline is May 15th and the contest finalists will be announced by June 3rd, 2016 for the GrabCAD community to comment and discuss. The jury is made up of GrabCAD and Stratasys employees, and before any prizes are awarded they will review and consider the community feedback. The final prize winners will be announced by June 29th, 2016.

Anyone interested in participating in the da Vinci Gear System Challenge can read a complete list of requirements, rules and prizes here. Resources for learning more about how da Vinci designs can be adapted to modern 3D printing technology can be found in the da Vinci case study from Unit 5 of the Stratasys 3D Printing Curriculum. Additionally you can find huge collections of da Vinci designs and artwork here and here. This sounds like an awesome challenge! Are you thinking about entering? Discuss in the 3D Printing a la da Vinci forum over at 3DPB.com.

3D print this.

3D print this.

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