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Your home 3D printer just added another entry to its resume: It’s your newest kitchen appliance. At least, it can be if you take MakerBot’s Thingiverse, and FirstBuild up on their Countertop Challenge. Take a look at your own kitchen and ask yourself how you can more efficiently capitalize on the space you have between your countertop and the bottom of your upper kitchen cabinets. “The possibilities,” say Thingiverse and FirstBuild, “are endless.”

FirstBuild is a community-minded, tech-enthusiastic partnership between GE Appliances and Local Motors. GE Appliances is striving to manufacture innovative, energy-efficient appliances. Local Motors is all about next-generation, crowd-powered automotive technology, design, and manufacturing. They want to create what they call “game-changing vehicles.” Together these two companies are striving to create a whole new model for the appliance industry. They are engaging with a diverse community: Scientists, engineers, industrial designers, and makers to build a new framework a6that emphasizes rapid product introduction and iteration for manufacturing cars, appliances, and more, using technology like 3D printing. FirstBuild’s pioneering philosophy will drive future invention and innovation from which the next generation of major appliances.

Fresh new designs for the Countertop Challenge can be completely 3D printed with no added components. Or, they could be 3D-printed smart devices that are powered when you plug them into a wi-fi enabled USB port. There are already over 50 submissions, which you can peruse on the contest website. There’s a whole range of 3D-printed objects, including a taco rack, a canister set, a measuring spoon that weighs its contents, a banana stand, a cling wrap dispenser, a spoon rest, a spaghetti measure and more.

In order to submit your own creative solutions to the Countertop Challenge, you need to upload your design to both the Thingiverse and the FirstBuild challenge pages. Entrants are instructed to use the hashtag #CountertopChallenge for a chance to be featured on Thingiverse’s homepage and FirstBuild’s social media channels. The submission deadline is March 14, 2015 at 11:59 p.m., so there’s still time to put on your thinking cap (we assume it’s 3D printed) and come up with something cool and useful for the kitchen.a1

Winners will be announced on April 20th. In the spirit of making and community, the FirstBuild and Thingiverse communities will cast votes and the top ten entries will be joined with judges selected by the contest co-sponsors. A panel of judges will narrow it down from the pool of 20 great ideas. The First Place winner will be able to choose between a MakerBot Replicator® Desktop 3D Printer and a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer. His or her design will be featured on the Thingiverse site and also displayed in MakerBot retail stores.

Second Place is nothing to sneeze at, either. The winner gets a MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer along with the publicity mentioned above with the First Place finish. If you finish in Third Place, you’ll be the recipient of three spools of MakerBot Filament, a Thingiverse t-shirt, a FirstBuild t-shirt and the publicity that lets the world see just how creative you are. Go out on a limb and see what you can come up with. We’re looking forward to seeing more clever, forward-thinking 3D printed designs!   Let us know if you have entered the challenge in the Thingiverse/FirstBuild Countertop Challenge forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out the contest video below:

 

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