Something about 3D printing just screams “design competition!” We see new 3D printing and design contests every few days, it seems, from a multitude of organizations eager to attract publicity and stimulate creativity at the same time. Makers who pay attention have no shortage of opportunities to win prizes for designing everything from assistive devices to drones, from bike accessories to Batman. Certain themes tend to be especially popular for design challenges – like assistive technology, for existence, or outer space. They often have educational goals in mind, or are geared to appeal to the pop culture of the moment (see: Batman v Superman).
A newly launched competition from a couple of Japanese companies is different from others I’ve seen, though. 3D marketplace Rinkak and personal computer/software company Unitcom are teaming up to challenge designers to create 3D printable air vents – namely, 3D printable air vents for Unitcom’s customizable Level ∞ gaming PC.
The Level ∞ is a compact little PC specifically designed to be personalized through 3D printing. It’s a cool idea, and the Level ∞ Air Vent Hack Design Contest encourages participants to focus on that most vital but oft-underappreciated component: the air outlet. Prominently placed on the front of the computer, the outlet is as cosmetic as it is functional, allowing users to really make their computers their own by 3D printing their own customized parts for the vent.
The contest offers three categories for submission: the Art category, for aesthetically focused, stylish designs; the Product category, for ideas that focus more on convenience or function; and the 2D Graphic category, for entries that involve graphics such as patterns or characters. The categories are more like guidelines, however; entrants aren’t limited to any one category and can submit ideas that fit multiple groups.
Entries will be judged on originality, quality of design, potential for use in customizing the PC, and 3D printability. The grand prize winner will receive ¥500,000, while one winner from each category will receive ¥100,000. There’s also a Special Sponsor Award (¥60,000) which will be given to one winner from each category, and a Level ∞ Award (¥20,000, one winner). Honorable Mention Award #1 presents three winners with the A6-7400K Black Edition BOX from AMD Japan, and Honorable Mention Award #2 offers five winners a DS502 Gaming Headset from MSI Computer.
All participants will receive a ¥500 discount coupon for the Rinkak marketplace, and winners will have their designs sold on the site – they’ll also receive sales support from Kabuku, owner of Rinkak. Entries are being accepted from now until October 18, with winners announced in November. Individuals can enter from anywhere in the world, and the site has made the files for the basic air vent parts available here, so no need to start from scratch. A few examples of custom designs have also been included.
I never realized that a computer’s air vent could offer so much potential for creativity, but a look at just a few of the design examples demonstrates that there’s really a lot you can do with the simple part. Go check it out; you’ve got a couple of months, so there’s plenty of time to come up with some really neat designs. You can find full details of the contest here. Discuss further in the 3D Printable Air Vents forum at 3DPB.com.