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Let Go of What You Know for the ‘Make the Unmakeable’ 3D Printing Design Challenge

3D printing has become a global tool for innovation, offering users complete design freedom and customization opportunities where traditional manufacturing processes fall short. Celebrating the ability to make the impossible, FATHOM—a Stratasys reseller—partnered with SolidProfessor and Stratasys’ GrabCAD to launch the Make the Unmakeable  Design Challenge in 2015. The grand prize? A Stratasys uPrint SE 3D Printer. Designers will be happy to know the final challenge begins Monday, July 20.

FATHOM’S first of three design challenges launched in February and featured more than 150 contestants who were asked to develop a creative solution for New Year’s resolutions. “We’re really excited to see so many people take interest in the first of three Make the Unmakeable challenges this year,” said Rich Stump, Principal and Founder at FATHOM.

The company’s second challenge, which asked contestants to improve upon a conventional hinge or fastener design, saw an increase of more than 200 submissions. FATHOM’s much anticipated third and final challenge, beginning next Monday, is expected to draw an even larger turnout. The winning designs from the three challenges will be judged in September to determine which contestant will win the uPrint SE 3D printer and be named the champion of the Make the Unmakeable challenge.

FATHOM recently sat down with David Sidell, winner of the first contest and a lead industrial designer at Likuma Laboratories, to discuss his design and offer advice to future contestants.

The Grow Pod, produced on the Objet30 Pro Desktop 3D Printer by Stratasys, was named the winning design concept during the first of three contests in FATHOM, SolidProfessorand GrabCAD's Make the Unmakeable Design Challenge.
The Grow Pod, produced on the Objet30 Pro Desktop 3D Printer by Stratasys, was named the winning design concept during the first of three contests in FATHOM, SolidProfessorand GrabCAD’s Make the Unmakeable Design Challenge.

Sidell’s winning concept, the Grow Pod, was inspired by his family’s interest in homegrown vegetables. Sidell developed a sophisticated structure to store seeds and facilitate plant growth. The pod features a self-watering system, which collects water at the top and filters it down to the plant’s base.

According to Sidell, he chose VeroClear-RGD810, a multipurpose, transparent PolyJet photopolymer,  to expose the plant to the essential elements needed for growth: light, water and air. VeroClear’s transparency also provides a way for users to easily monitor the plant’s growth and water intake. The design was produced at FATHOM’s Seattle production center on the Objet30 Pro Desktop 3D Printer by Stratasys.

As an industrial designer, Sidell is familiar with the design restrictions users face with traditional methods like molding. “In this case, the beauty of the form would have been ruined from having to mold the Grow Pod in multiple parts and subsequently assembling,” explained Sidell. “With additive manufacturing, all of the issues I would have faced in a typical production environment, which would have forced me to change the design, are gone.”

With the third and final contest on the horizon, Sidell offers his advice to those who are thinking about stepping up to the challenge, “Spend as much time as the competition allows on the idea before submitting. Create variations and show it to friends and family. Ask yourself, does it meet all of the goals required? Does it go beyond them? Don’t worry about other people copying you—if they do, it must be a good idea, and you had it first! Always keep in mind that the quality of your work will speak for itself. Lastly, be professional.”

The judges panel features Rich Stump, Principal at FATHOM; Tony Glocker, Co-founder of SolidProfessor; Hardi Meybaum, Founder and CEO of GrabCAD; Jack McCauley, VP Engineering at Oculus VR; Ali Javidan, Head of Google ATAP’s Skunkworks Team; and Ben Ewing.
The judges panel features Rich Stump, Principal at FATHOM; Tony Glocker, Co-founder of SolidProfessor; Hardi Meybaum, Founder and CEO of GrabCAD; Jack McCauley, VP Engineering at Oculus VR; Ali Javidan, Head of Google ATAP’s Skunkworks Team; and Ben Ewing.

FATHOM’s Rich Stump adds, “Some of the entries from the first challenge are still designed with traditional manufacturing methods in mind. Let go of what you know and think differently about how products are designed and manufactured.”

Click here for more information on the Make the Unmakeable Design Challenge or to view previous submissions from the first two challenges.

This post is also available in: French German Spanish

Carrie Wyman

Carrie Wyman

Carrie is a technology and 3D printing enthusiast, with a passion for beautiful design.

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