It’s been a few months since the last Pinshape design contest we talked about, but the wait is over! The popular online marketplace for 3D printable models is announcing a new contest, the Mechanical Design Challenge, sponsored by Formlabs, 3D Hubs, Prusa Research, and Adafruit. Pinshape has held all sorts of 3D design challenges, from cosplay and superheroes to bike accessories and jewelry, but this is the first time it’s focused on mechanical design.
The challenge description reads, “With new functional materials coming out all the time, 3D printing is quickly becoming capable of producing end use, mechanical parts. Show us your best mechanical designs for a chance to win a Form 2 3D printer. It could be something with integrated electronics or it could be mechanical parts or gears.”
The challenge has already begun, and will end on June 15. Once you’ve taken the time to design a functional mechanical tool or device, simply upload it to Pinshape – but be sure to check the box on the upload form that says you want to submit the model to the Mechanical Design Contest.
The contest is open worldwide, and is free to enter. Entrants need to be registered Pinshape users in order to enter, but can submit as many entries as they want, so long as the designs are original works and were not previously submitted to a Pinshape contest. Additionally, all Mechanical Design Challenge entries must comply with Pinshape’s content policy.
While it’s not necessary to print your model first, it can be helpful in terms of illustrating your design’s image quality and ease of printing. If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, you can reach out to other makers in the Pinshape community who might let you borrow their printer by visiting this thread in the forums. Student entrants can get a 25% discount on their design print with the 3D Hubs student discount; additionally, if you post a link to your design on your social media accounts and tag @pinshape, you’ll also be entered to win a free SLA print of your design, courtesy of Formlabs.
The judges consist of Formlabs Mechanical Design Engineer Caitlin Reyda, engineer and Pinshape Ambassador Christoph Laimer (whose unique work we’ve admired previously), and Joshua Pearce, a 3D printing advocate and professor at Michigan Technological University (MTU). In 2015, Pearce taught a popular class at MTU called Open Source 3D Printing, and even wrote the textbook for the class.
“My group has been investigating the mechanical properties of common 3-D printing materials in order foster distributed manufacturing of high-value objects. There is an incredible array of engineering materials that allow you to produce end use parts from low cost open source 3-D printers already. Now we really need more libre designs to take advantage of these materials. I look forward to seeing what people create and share with the rest of the community,” Pearce told 3DPrint.com.
“In addition some of my research is focused on the return on investment of 3-D printed parts for prosumers. Having high-quality mechanical designs for 3-D printer users is a very important piece of that puzzle because many users do not have the necessary design skills to make a functional part like a vice or gear if the design was not available to them. I’m really excited to see what the community comes up with for this contest as I think it will drive the sharing culture which has made the 3-D printing so powerful.”
The judges will decide the winner based on three criteria:
- Up to 30 points for technical excellence and ease of printing
- Up to 30 points for presentation: Image or video quality, print settings, any assembly instructions
- Up to 40 points for functionality: Is the design mechanically sound? Will it function as intended?
The first place winner will receive a Form 2 3D Printer Package, valued at $3,499, and a $100 Adafruit gift card. The prize for second place is a Prusa i3 MK2S Kit, valued at $699, and a $200 3D Hubs gift card, while the third place winner will get a $100 3D Hubs gift card. Will you be entering? Let us know in the Pinshape forum at 3DPB.com.