logoOne thing I really appreciate about 3D printing is the ability to make objects that take care of some kind of household problem or enhance things that we utilize on a daily basis. When reviewing 3D models for a variety of websites, I have recently began using the distinction between “fun” and “functional” 3D printed objects, and I especially enjoy the “fun/ctional” things that blur the line between the two.

This is the idea behind a new competition sponsored by 3D Hubs, SketchUp, and Flashforge: reward functional 3D design that we can really use. Examples of this include “self-watering planters, furniture assembly kits, or headphones.” You know, stuff like that.

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3D Hubs’ Co-Marketing Manager, George Fisher-Wilson, explains the motivation behind the competition:

“Time and time again, many of our platform’s top users have turned to SketchUp for its ease of use and powerful features for creating their 3D printable designs. Only SolidWorks carries more users on the 3D Hubs platform creating functional product designs, so this is a great opportunity for us to highlight and recognize the product design talent from our SketchUp users.”

Here’s how the Make It Functional Design Competition, which is live now, works:

You can sketchup-logoupload any functional product design concept to SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse. Tag the design with #sketchup3Dhubs, and check the “I want this to be 3D printable” button. All competition entry designers will received a $10 3D Hubs voucher. And there’s other great prizes for competition winners, too: this is where Flashforge enters the picture. And remember that you have to have your designs uploaded by October 25 to enter the competition.

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There will be ten winners in the competition, and winners from 10th to 3rd place will receive a 3D print of their entry design. 2nd place prize will be a Flashforge Finder 3D Printer. First place prize is a Flashforge Dreamer 3D Printer and a SketchUp Pro License. All entries will be judged on printability, innovation, and utility as an everyday 3D printed object.

This competition is an excellent collaboration among three different aspects of the 3D printing industry: hardware (Flashforge), software (SketchUp), and social networking/organization (3D Hubs). 3D Hubs now has 22,538 hubs with 3D printers registered globally (as of the time of editing), and SketchUp is user-friendly drawing software utilized by makers, designers, architects, engineers, educators, and hobbyists. Flashforge, founded in 2011, has sold thousands of 3D printers globally and has “disrupted the desktop 3D printing market” with affordable printers that many different kinds of people can use.

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I look forward to seeing the competition entries and winners. There are new ideas in 3D printing every day, so competition can be stiff. The sticking point may very well be that it must be printable. If you can’t think of something right away, you have close to one month to come up with a printable, original, and functional design to wow competition judges–and win your own Flashforge 3D printer, ideally.

Discuss this story in the Make It Function Forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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