Last week, TCEA announced our first 3D Design Contest winners. During the contest, the students worked together in teams of four with the help of an adult sponsor. They were tasked with coming up with a solution to a real-world problem by designing a product with 3D design software. Each team kept careful track of their thinking as they followed the steps of the Engineering Design Process from researching and brainstorming solutions to testing a prototype and refining their design.
We were amazed by the creativity of this year’s entries and want to share with our readers a little taste of what students can accomplish when they’re given the freedom to engineer and create. Here are the top five 3D Design Contest winners and a little about their projects.
First Place: Vivamus
The winning team was from Archer City ISD, and Mika Morgan was their team sponsor. This group wanted to solve a problem that affects millions of people around the world. Through their research they discovered that in many parts of the world, people who struggle with vision impairment don’t have access to corrective lenses. Untreated vision problems can lead to more severe issues and even blindness.
Their solution was to design inexpensive glasses frames that can be 3D printed on site. They called their product Vivamus from the Latin for “let us live.” The students designed the frames and carefully calculated the cost to print each one. In the end, the product they created wasn’t just a lesson in using 3D software, but in collaboration, problem-solving, and engineering thinking.
Second Place: EZ – Stand
The second place team from Burkburnett ISD was overseen by sponsor Glenda Moore. These students sought to help people who suffer from mobility issues and have difficulty getting in and out of chairs. The inspiration for the project was one of the team member’s grandmothers. They designed a chair, fittingly called the EZ – Stand, that could swivel up and down from the back legs to help a person to stand up out of it. In making their project, the students considered all of the needs of their potential user, including comfort and appearance, as well as basic utility.
Third Place: N.W.A. Nail without Agony
What problem is more universal than worrying about banging your thumb when trying to hammer a nail into a piece of wood? The third place team was from Brady ISD and led by Teresa Smith. They wanted to create a tool that would protect the fingers of craftsmen, carpenters, and DIYers everywhere. They had a number of ideas. Some of them didn’t pan out as they’d hoped. But they kept going back to the drawing board and refining their vision. Finally, they created a plier-like tool they called the N.W.A. (Nail Without Agony). They then created a plan to market their product in hardware and general stores.
Fourth Place: ArtCase
The team from Beaumont ISD, led by sponsor Joy Schwartz, wanted to bring more beauty to people’s everyday lives. They thought about something many people see and use regularly: their phone and its protective case. They wanted to find a way to make phone cases more beautiful and also more customizable to each individual’s artistic preferences. Enter: the ArtCase. This is a 3D-printed phone case with a main body and eight customizable panes. These panes are a chance for an individual to add their own unique artistic expression into their phone case.
Fifth Place: Changing Jordan’s Life in a Click!
When students from London ISD, in a team led by Holli Horton, started thinking about a problem they wanted to solve, they chose to focus on helping a member of their own community. Jordan is a student who uses a wheelchair and has mobility issues that limit his hand movements. The problem he faced is that he was unable to buckle his seat belt without assistance. The students decided to design a tool that would help Jordan to do this specific task. In turn, this would provide him greater freedom and self-reliance. Their solution could also have a larger impact for people who have mobility issues similar to Jordan’s. But in the meantime, the team made a task easier for at least one person in their community.
Congratulations on a Job Well Done!
All of these incredible winners received trophies for their school, along with individual medals. However, these are only a few of the amazing creations submitted. TCEA congratulates all of the entrants of the 3D Design Contest for their hard work and incredible results. They are to be commended for their insight in identifying a problem and the strong critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity they displayed in solving it.
For more information about the 3D Design Contest, please see this website. In its inaugural year, the competition was open to high school students, but we plan to open the field to more grades in subsequent years. We hope you will enter a team, and we look forward to seeing your team on this list next year!