Discover, Create, Apply!

(and learn about digital manufacturing)

Educational 3D Printing Student Competition

Application Link and Details



This 3D printing competition is to encourage students to DISCOVER needs that can be fulfilled with 3D printing, inspire students to CREATE innovative solutions to problems, and help students find the best ways to APPLY 3D printing in their projects.

We’re looking for the best application of 3D printing in a project! For the past two years, NWA3D has sponsored 3D printing competitions for EAST Initiative classes. We’ve been so impressed with the levels of passion, creativity, and complexity expressed by students in those competitions that we decided to create a competition open to any student in the United States up to the age of 18!


Competition Overview

Our goal is to use this competition to help encourage the overall development of digital manufacturing technology by working towards a better understanding the main question people have about 3D printing: “What is it good for?”

We’re looking for projects that are innovative and demonstrate an appropriate use of 3D printing. We don’t want to see projects that apply 3D printing where a different technology or technique would be more properly applied—such as a method that would be cheaper, stronger, or faster than 3D printing for a given application. However, that doesn’t mean 3D printing can’t be a part of a bigger project that is using several different methods or technologies! Proper entries will explain how 3D printing has been used to gain an advantage over other current techniques.

The competition is split into two stages to create a scaffolding competition for students based on critical thinking, design, and iteration. This two-stage approach will encourage students to develop endurance and see their project through to the end, and successfully address all the challenges they encounter in the process.

The two stages are to encourage students to stay on target and hit critical project development goals and to prepare them for real-world projects and deadlines in future workplace environments. It provides an opportunity for students to fully flesh-out and complete a product design portfolio directly related to 3D printing.


Competition Outline

Though this competition has two stages, there was no need to enter in Stage One to be qualified for Stage Two. Limit one project entry per team.*

*  Entries are limited to one project per team for this competition. However, the same project can be entered in other NWA3D competitions (such as those promoted by the EAST Initiative).


Stage One

  • Submission deadline was Monday, December 17, 2018 at 5:00pm CST
  • Focus: Utilize 3D printing to develop an original and feasible idea, plan, or prototype
  • Completion: Entries do not require completion and we encourage projects in all stages of planning


Stage Two Detailed Guidelines

  • Guidelines release date: January 11, 2019
  • Submission deadline: May 7, 2019 at 5:00pm CST, Winner announced: May 7, 2019.
  • Focus: Build on Stage One requirements, develop prototypes, resolve issues, and bring your project as close to completion as possible
  • Completion: All projects will need to be completed with a fully functional example to be qualified
  • Feedback: NWA3D will provide constructive feedback to all entries, any questions can be sent to [email protected]
  • Honorable Mention(s) receive public recognition and a $100 gift card to NWA3D
  • One winning entry receives public recognition, $2,000 cash Grand Prize, plus other bonus prizes


Judging Rubric

Applications will be judged on the following criteria on a 1–10 point scale: Complexity, Appropriate Application, Completion, Soft Skills, Awesomeness Factor. Bonus Points from Stage One will also count in the Stage Two Judging Rubric.

  • Complexity (1–10): We’re looking for innovative solutions to problems that make a difference. This doesn’t mean that your print has to be complicated to win, it should be an appropriate solution for the problem you’re trying to solve. A very complicated problem may have a very simple solution, or a simple problem may require a complicated solution. Both are great. Your solution may look like a simple design at first glance, but was it? How many iterations did your design go through? Was it hard to design or print? Is your project an innovative solution?
  • Appropriate Application (1–10): Additive manufacturing (3D printing) is a very specialized process, but it’s not perfect for everything. Is 3D printing the best way to solve your problem? Would it be easier to do the project in a different way with different methods and/or materials? Prove how 3D printing is the best technology for this project and you’ll get a high score!
  • Completion (1–10): Deadlines are an important part of project management and product development. You need to report how close your project is to implementation. Is your project completed? Did you fabricate a functional prototype? Have you installed or deployed your solution? You must provide results and supporting materials.
  • Soft Skills (1–10): When you work with additive manufacturing, there is a lot to learn besides 3D design and printing. What creative solutions did you engineer? How did you work as a team? How did you solve problems that arose? What existing resources, research, and information did you leverage to improve your understanding and make your project better?
  • Awesomeness Factor (1–10): 3D printing is awesome—how is your project awesome? Does the project create a life- or community-changing product? How did your project provide insight into the purpose and processes of additive manufacturing? Does your project encourage or inspire others?


Application Link and Details