Jul 15, 2016 | By Tess

The HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hildesheim, Germany has hosted the Akkuschrauberrennen or “Cordless Screwdriver Race” for the past nine years at its campus. As the name suggests, the race consists of bringing together teams of students to design and create one-person vehicles that can be powered by an electric screwdriver. Similar to box car or billycart races, the designs for vehicles presented each year are always creative as everyone is seeking to make the fastest and coolest vehicle around.

For this year’s race, the organizers decided to step things up in a technological way by requiring that every entry vehicle had to be at least in part 3D printed. Specifically, at least 50cm of each vehicle had to be made using 3D printing technologies (the maximum width for each vehicle is 90cm, to give a relative idea). As an additional requirement, all vehicles had to also be made sustainably and showcase an organic design.


In following with the race’s new rules, a number of teams took to 3D printing to make innovative designs for their vehicles. Team Ostfreezer, from the Hochschule Emden-Leer University of Applied Sciences, for instance, enlisted the help of 3D printing service Materialise to create their vehicle’s 3D printed parts. Their cordless screwdriver vehicle, called Akkuracer, was made using Materialise Magics and Materialise's 3-matic modeling software, which allowed the team to design a complex structure for their vehicle that exhibited organic qualities. With the design process complete, Materialise 3D printed the components using Laser Sintering and had the pieces shipped to Germany for the race.

At the race itself, which took place on June 25th, spectators gathered to watch the eleven competing vehicles at the racetrack in Hildesheim. Each team was given its electric screwdriver just one minute prior to the racing time, so as not to give anyone an advantage. Of course, some teams were disappointed to find that their vehicles struggled right off the bat with the insertion of the electric screwdriver motor. Team MOPET, from HAWK Hildesheim, crashed within minutes of starting the first race, but faired better later in the day. And while Team Ostfreezer’s Akkuracer did not win any of the top prizes with their impressive 3D printed vehicle, they comfortably made it to the quarter finals.

In judging the races, many elements were taken into consideration such as speed, technology and design, and the overall impression, which was decided by an audience vote. Team MOPET won top prize for audience vote despite their poor performance in the first race, and Team Screwdriver from the Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences in Wolfenbüttel took home the top speed prize.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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