November 1, 2011
A unique sustainable design competition for three-dimensional (3-D) printers established at Queen's last year is now open to all.
"We anticipate that Queen's students who were exposed to the contest last year and had some time to think about previous designs will be able to compete with the best in the world," says Joshua Pearce, Adjunct Professor, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
The Queen's Applied Sustainability group (QAS) created the competition last year. QAS wanted to show students the potential of open source 3-D printers and demonstrate how engineers and designers can use the technology to solve sustainable development problems. QAS expanded the competition this year because the technology has become more accessible as the cost of 3-D printers has dropped below $1,000.
Dr. Pearce's research group has found that there is potential to use the 3-D printing tools for sustainable development.
"People will be able to 'print themselves out of poverty' as the technology continually evolves, cheaper and more accessible 3-D printer ink develops, and a bank of open source designs grows," says Dr. Pearce.
QAS has made it easier to enter the competition this year. Students can post their projects to Thingiverse – a digital design sharing website – but don't need to detail it in a wiki as well.
The top designer will win $1,000, up from $500 last year, and the second-place contestant will receive $250.
The Sustainable Technology Design Competition for Open Source 3-D Printers, sponsored by QAS and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, is now open. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2012. Visit the contest website for complete details.