Stratasys Blog

What If da Vinci Had a 3D Printer? Take the Challenge!

Artist, mathematician and inventor – are you up for the challenge? Here’s your chance to get into the head of a Renaissance genius, Leonardo da Vinci, and enter to win a prize from a $2,500 prize pool.

We all create with what we have. Da Vinci designed his products for the available tools and materials of the 1400s and 1500s. Today, you can apply his thinking and concepts to the tools of the 21st century – CAD, 3D modeling and 3D printing.

GrabCAD and the Stratasys Education Team challenge you to take da Vinci’s machining ideas and create a da Vinci gear system that can be produced using 3D printing. You will need to think through the design process and consider the ways in which 3D printing differs from Renaissance-era fabrication technologies – and then adjust your designs accordingly.  Pick the best 3D printing method and material to produce your design, and consider tolerances, layer thickness and the capabilities of the type of 3D printer on which you would like to have it produced.

What You Need to Submit:

  • Design files
  • Renderings
  • A brief explanation of your preferred 3D printing method for producing your designs
  • Links to the da Vinci design that inspired your creation


You’ll also need to show that your design can be 3D printed, either by uploading a screenshot from a 3D printing service or photos of your 3D printed design if you choose to 3D print it yourself.

Remember, most of our inventions are built on others’. After the da Vinci Gear System Challenge, others will be able to learn from your design approach and – just like da Vinci‘s designs – maybe take your project development to places you never considered.

Ready? Check out the rules, deadlines and prizes here.

Need help? Download our da Vinci case study (Unit 5 of the Stratasys Curriculum – Something  That Moves Something, used worldwide by hundreds of leading schools)

To learn more about GrabCAD Challenges, or to sponsor a challenge of your own, visit the GrabCAD Challenge page.

We hope you enjoy the challenge and the process itself!

Carrie Wyman

Carrie Wyman

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

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