DJI, a market leader in the production of easy to fly drones, has built themselves up from a single small office to a global company with over 3,000 employees. In April, Shapeways issued a call to the creative community for the submission of unique 3D printed accessories that could further “pump up the cool” on DJI drones. This was an exciting moment for Shapeways and they explained the importance of this step for the greater maker community:

“Why is this so exciting? It’s the first time a major brand has supported the maker community this way. By acknowledging the unique creations Shapeways designers are making for their products, they are truly showing their support of the maker community and the innovation that is produced on a daily basis.”

Runner Up: The Claw

Runner Up: The Claw

Fast forward to today when Shapeways announced the winners of the challenge and you can imagine the excitement that DJI must have experienced when reviewing the submissions. This is some cool stuff. In order to really push the envelope, the winning designs were chosen based on creativity and design. After the top ten submissions were chosen, special guest judge Adam Savage (one half of the dynamic Mythbusters duo) decided which of those would be awarded the grand prize and which three would be named as runner’s up.

As the call for the challenge was the creation of accessories for either the DJI Inspire 1 or the DJI Phantom 3, it is only appropriate that the grand prize winner should receive her/his very own Phantom 3 and to sweeten the deal, Shapeways kicked in $1,000 in printing credit. For the three runner’s up, DJI provided a 50% discount on their Phantom 3 and Shapeways rewarded them with $500 in printing credit. With a regular price tag of $799 for thestandard drone and $1,259 for the professional, even a coupon goes a long way.

And so…drumroll please:

Grand Prize: Fusion Marine FM1

Grand Prize: Fusion Marine FM1

The grand prize was awarded to Fusion Imaging for their creation of an attachment to allow the drone to land on water. You have to admit this is a pretty cool idea: land the drone on the water’s surface and you have a view on a perspective not often captured. The Shapeways contest was clear that it was not required for the design to be demonstrated as fully functional just yet, so we’ll have to wait and see before I’d trust my expensive drone to the design (technically, I’d have to get an expensive drone, first), but it’s a fantastic idea.

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Runner Up: Snap Strap with Pilot’s Chair

The runners-up were Jordy Wubbles “The Claw” (priced very specifically at $112.80), Michael Miller’s “Snap Strap with Pilot Chair”, and BGStudio Shop’s “Multi-purose DJI drone bucket.” I have to admit a bias toward “the claw” but part of that is because Wubbels expressly stated the way in which this particular attachment could be utilized to grant the gift of flight to members of the guinea pig community and that’s something that you don’t often see in a drone attachment. Of course, if you own a guinea pig you may already recognize that this is not necessarily a gift the piggies themselves are particularly interested in receiving, but it’s a great idea nonetheless.

Miller’s pilot chair, modeled closely after the Eames lounger for increased figurine comfort, allows you to snap on action figures and act out all of your aerial drama fantasies, whether a battle for access to the death star or a great first date for Ken and Barbie (note: Ken and Barbie are too large for the drones, but that shouldn’t be a problem, you can 3D print smaller versions!) And if there were a special award to be offered for punning, it would be given to BGStudio Shop for their drone bucket attachment that promises the possibility for your everyday Casanova to now “dromantically deliver flowers to a loved one.”

Shapeways would like to encourage people not to stop imagining just because this contest is over.

But frankly, I’ve got to wrap this up. I need to start making flight suits for my guinea pigs.

What are your thoughts on these winner?  Let us know in the Shapeways 3D Printed Drone Winners forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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