Last year, 3D Hubs, the world’s largest online network of 3D printing services, reported that nearly 500 applicants from 300 universities around the world applied for its extremely popular Student Grant program, which encourages students to make a positive influence on the world by using 3D printing in a creative way.
Just a few months ago, 3D Hubs announced that it would be kicking off its Student Grant program for the second year in a row, and offering grants to students who were able to illustrate the best use of 3D printing in the architecture, engineering, and product design fields. The grant amount was increased this year from $500 to $1,000, to be used for project expenses and continued funding. Unsurprisingly, the reception for the grant program was great once again.
“We’ve had some amazingly innovative applicants from around the world using 3D printing for some unique applications,” George Fisher-Wilson, the Communications Manager for 3D Hubs, told 3DPrint.com.
There were applicants from more than 50 countries this time around, entering a wide array of innovative 3D printed projects that, as Fisher-Wilson told us, were diverse, including “underwater jetpacks, prosthetics for mountain biking and a 3D printed head with sensors used as a training device for robotic surgery.”
Today, 3D Hubs has announced the three awardees for this year’s 3D Hubs Student Grant program, who were chosen based on the core concept, impact, and functionality of their projects, along with how creatively 3D printing was used to make their ideas a reality. 44.6% of all entries this year were for the Product Design category, followed up by 27.5% for Architecture and 25.9% for Engineering. For the second year in a row, Loughborough University in the UK had the most entries, while New York’s Pratt Institute came in second and the Politecnico di Milano in Italy was third.
“After the success of last year it was great to see more refreshing and new ideas being submitted,” said Filemon Schoffer, the CMO of 3D Hubs. “Our goal is to give students affordable access to all manufacturing technologies so [their] ideas don’t have to be restrictive. The 3D Hubs Student Grant is always a great way to showcase the talented people we having using the platform who will be pushing the industry forward.”
The winners of this year’s Architecture category were Benedikt Boschert and Miriam Boldt from Hochschule Koblenz in Rhineland-Palatinate, with their 3D printed model of a public swimming pool. Their particular project turned the old culture of bathing on its head and into a new, more modern concept.
“With the background of a real task for our city, this concept is weaving the conditions to [an] optimal design of contemporary public swimming pools,” explained Boschert and Boldt in their project description.”
The students 3D printed over 25 pieces for the swimming pool model with an FDM 3D printer, then bonded them together, which helped them turn their original design into a physical model.
Rory Geoghegan and Dr. Mendelsohn from UCLA, who are in the bioengineering and biomedical engineering field, were awarded the 3D Hubs grant in the Engineering category for their Training Platform for Transoral Robotic Surgery.
Using an FDM 3D printer and PLA materials, the two created a 3D printed model of a human head, which also includes a synthetic oral tumor and an anatomically accurate aerodigestive tract, to be used as a training platform.
“Robotic surgery can be used to remove tumors from deep inside the mouth,” Dr. Mendelsohn and Geoghegan explained. “Currently there is no training platform to facilitate the necessary skills acquisition for surgical residents.”
The model is cost-effective, which is good if replacement parts are needed quickly during training, and also includes force sensors underneath the structures that are most often damaged by new surgeons, such as the lips and teeth.
Archie O’Brien from Loughborough University was awarded the final 3D Hubs grant, in Product Design, for his 3D printed, underwater jet pack. He calls his project, named Cuda, the “fastest underwater jetpack” in the world, and says it can be used for multiple purposes, such as underwater exploration, lifeguard duties, “and of course fun.”
The functional 3D printed prototype, designed in SOLIDWORKS, shows what O’Brien calls a “complex use of 3D printing,” as the prototype and most of its internal components were 3D printed using mostly PLA.
During this year’s program, 3D Hubs also took a close look at the most commonly used 3D modeling software – SOLIDWORKS was at the top, with Rhino following closely behind – and the most popular materials (PLA was the clear winner) used by students for their projects.
To take a look at the rest of these findings, and all of the top ten finalists in each of the three award categories, check out the 3D Hubs blog post. While dates and categories won’t be confirmed until later this year, the 3D Hubs Student Grant, open to all registered students, will definitely be returning for a third iteration in 2019.
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[Images provided by 3D Hubs]