The fourth edition of the 3D Pioneers Challenge came to a close this past June, after the contest’s expert jury selected the winning submissions from a pool of 36 finalists. Winners from each of the challenge’s eight main categories were presented with their prizes (worth over € 40,000) at Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3D.
Looking at the winning teams, the 3D Pioneers Challenge’s organizers, Simone and Christoph Völcker, identified and summarized 3D printing trends for the year. They said: “The latest developments in the three pillars of additive manufacturing technologies—materials, technology and data generation—are reflected in new designs with increasing performance and in the trend towards sustainable projects for people and the environment.
“3D printing goes far beyond the technical world. It can no longer be seen only in competition with other manufacturing technologies, but acts as an enabler in the overall context of industrial applications. Additive manufacturing processes are bridging the gap to new business fields. As a hidden champion and problem solver, it also manages to inspire emotion with groundbreaking concepts.”
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the winning projects in each challenge category: Design, Digital, Architecture, Materials, FashionTech, MedTech, Mobility and Sustainability.
In the MedTech category, a submission from the Tel Aviv University (pioneered by Nadav Noor, Dr. Assaf Shapira, Dr. Tal Dvir, Dr. Reuven Edri, Idan Gal and Lior Wertheim) for a 3D printed heart took home the top prize of €10,000. The research project, which made headlines around the world earlier this year, resulted in the first 3D printed heart with major blood vessels made from a patient’s materials and cells.
A team from Switzerland was awarded €3,500 in the category of Design for its “Stealth Padlock and Key” submission. The project, submitted by security company Urban Alps, combined 3D printing with aerospace materials to produce a stealth key with a super-alloy lock housing and shackle.
In the Digital category, a project called “Rocket combustion chamber demonstrator built through generative algorithms” was awarded €3,500. Submitted by a Germany-based team from Hyperganic Technologies AG, the innovative combustion chamber is said to mark a “paradigm shift in design” thanks to its use of generative technologies.
Adam Jakus from Dimension Inx LLC was awarded €3,500 for his submission “3D-Painted Hyperelastic Bone” in the Materials category. The innovative material is a 3D printable bioceramic that transforms into bone after it is implanted in the body.
Richard Browning, Sam Rogers and Alex Wilson were awarded €3,500 in two verticals—FashionTech and Mobility—for their innovative “Gravity Jetsuit,” which we’ve covered extensively. The wearable suit is equipped with rocket jets that enable the wearer to fly around like Iron Man.
In the Sustainability category, two projects were awarded €3,500. The first, called “Upprinting Food,” was submitted by Dutch teammates Elzelinde van Doleweerd and Vita Broeken. The project explores the use of 3D printing to produce sustainable food solutions, such as finding new uses for food waste.
The second winner in the Sustainability category was design studio Emerging Objects, founded by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, along with Sandy Curth, Logman Arja and SECORE. The team won €3,500 for its “Design of Coral Reef Seed Units” project, which aims to save the dwindling coral reef ecosystems in our oceans.
Finally, Obasogie Okpamen and Obasogie Osasumwen of the Landmark University from Nigeria were awarded the prize for Best Student Work for their entry “Alfa Romeo Twin Spark CON ROD,” a topology optimized redesign of the automotive component. The students were awarded €4,000 as well as a MakerBot Replicator Mini+ 3D printer.
For the first time, the 2019 3D Pioneers Challenge also introduced a Special Mention by Autodesk award, which was presented to three teams: Gravity Industries for its Jetsuit, AMBOTS from the University of Arkansas for its “Swarm 3D printing and assembly robots”, and the University of Tennessee for its “AMIE 1.0 – Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy” project. These three teams have received the chance the participate in the Autodesk Technology Centers Residency Program in North America.