Why do I write "contest" in between quotation marks? I think there's more to creating and sharing 3d-printed designs in the maker world then "winning a contest". The nature of the maker community is supposed to inspire people to build on each other's ideas.
A short while ago, at the occasion of the TU Delft: Industrial Design Engineering Business Faire, we wrote out a case for the students of the faculty: "design a 3d-printed product to be made on campus from used coffee cups". Obviously this case is based on the work we do with our installation. I'm going to discuss the entries now, and argue why and how they answered the case.
I'll discuss the (winning) entry that for me stood out in several ways. The design is called "cam secure" and was made by Stef de Groot. Stef took the liberty of already uploading it to thingiverse, which is great.
It is a laptop camera blocker and answers to the trend of people putting tape on their laptop cameras in fear of hackers (whether government, criminal or for fun) spying on them. A printed camera blocker looks nicer and can be customised to the tastes of the laptop owner; this in relation to people that like to personalise their laptops with i.e. stickers.
Considering that the people on campus are supplying the raw material for the product that they intend to get, a product that uses less material is more attractive because it requires those people to save up less material (drink less coffee).
Stef designed this cam blocker specifically for the kind of laptop that most students on campus use, thereby making it relevant for a large number of people on campus. I would like to see this design go a bit further into the potential of 3d-printing and become adjustable for different kinds of laptops and have different kinds of versions. Maybe in the form of Keanu sitting in front of your laptop camera? Anyways, I've been inspired :-)
I'll discuss one more entry because it is interesting to see what people expect that printers can do.
Brian Khouw wanted to see if the Ultimaker could handle complex forms and find out what the structural loading can be on the recycled plastic. For this he sent us a design of a candle holder.
The Ultimakers can indeed handle quite complex shapes but the experimental nature of using recycled coffee cups plastic (see previous blog post) prevents us from printing these kind of shapes with recycled material. We tried printing the design with our Ultimaker 2 at high resolution but even then this design is pushing the limits of FDM printers. The problems are the support of the thin structure and the warping of the part. It is really something that is more fit to produce with an SLS or a Photolithography printer.