Aug 3, 2017 | By Benedict

The 3D Pioneers Challenge, an international competition for additive manufacturing technologies, has announced its winners. Winning projects include 3D printed skateboard trucks, a 3D printed stone replica of part of the Arch of Palmyra, and a 3D printed neck brace.

Despite the huge amount of money in the global 3D printing industry, some of the best additive ideas come not from 3D Systems, Stratasys, EOS, and the like, but from the little guy: the solo inventor, the entrepreneurial student, or the startup full of passionate young workers looking to make their mark on technologies of the future.

But finding those important figures (and their potentially game-changing ideas) can be difficult, so it’s often through high-profile competitions like the 3D Pioneers Challenge (3DPC) that the gems of additive innovation are unearthed.

3DPC, whose inaugural contest was held in 2016, invites designers to submit their 3D printing ideas across a range of verticals, including Design, Architecture, Automotive, FashionTech, and MedTech. The winners are chosen by an expert jury, and receive 15,000 euros ($17,800) of prize money between them. The competition is organized in Germany.

“The Challenge seeks to uncover specialists from around the world who are thinking outside the box and pushing boundaries,” its organizers say. Luckily for us, we now know the identities of this year’s boundary-pushing winners.

Announced at a Gala evening in Erfurt at the end of June, the winning projects range from 3D printed skateboard components to crucial 3D printed medical equipment. Each winner was chosen based on a number of criteria, including implementation, conception, design, and relevance (to society, current technologies, etc.).

The winning projects were showcased at the Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D conference, which took place June 20-22. Each received either 2,000 or 3,000 euros in prize money, in addition to other prizes.

3D Pioneers Challenge winners:

Project T.O.S.T. (Topology Optimized Skateboard Trucks)

Philipp Manger, Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule Jena, Germany

Best student project and 3DPC 2017 winner in the category Design

Project T.O.S.T. used additive manufacturing to create strong, lightweight skateboard trucks—the metal sections which connect the wheels to the deck. The 3D printed trucks used a combination of organic and lattice structures.

Palmyra Rebuilt

Eric Geboers and Matteo Baldassari, CONCR3DE, The Netherlands

3DPC 2017 winner in the category Material

Using a special kind of 3D printable stone, the entrants made a 3D printed replica of part of the ISIS-destroyed Arch of Palmyra in Syria. (Other 3D printed replicas of destroyed Palmyra monuments have made headlines in the past.)

A binder jetting 3D printer was used print with the durable concrete material, which contains recycled waste and which can be printed at an accuracy of 100 microns. CONCR3DE also says it can reduce CO2 by 80 percent by using local materials, and can print in different colors and mechanical strengths.

Salt Coral

Eric Geboers and Matteo Baldassari, CONCR3DE, The Netherlands

3DPC 2017 winner in the category Material

CONCR3DE scooped its second prize of the competition with its Salt Coral innovation. 3D printed with salt using an inkjet powder printing process, Salt Coral has a brain-like appearance, and is protected from moisture with a bio resin.

Mecuris Cervical Orthosis "Emydura"

Manuel Opitz, Jannis Breuninger, Clemens Rieth, Felix Gundlack, Juliane Weinzierl, Dr. med. Simon Weidert, Anja Fischer, Carolin Taubmann; Mecuris GmbH,  Germany

3DPC 2017 winner in the category MedTech

Described as the first 3D printed bespoke neck brace, Emydura light, stable, wearable, and adaptable to individuals.


Benjamin Greimel, Austria

3DPC 2017 winner in the category Event

Benjamin Greimel's unusual PRINT A DRINK system is the "world`s first 3D printing process for drinks and other liquid foods." It uses materials that repel each other, similar to how oil repels water.

According to Greimel, the process uses high-end KUKA Robots to accurately "inject" microliter-drops of edible liquid into a cocktail. Within just 60 seconds, PRINT A DRINK can build up "complex 3D structures in a wide range of drinks," creating unusual augmented cocktails.

Programmable Textiles

Ronny Haberer and Patrick Bösch,  Bauhaus University Weimar,  Germany

3DPC 2017 winner in the category FashionTech

This project details a method for 3D printing structures onto fabrics to alter their shape and structure.


Niklas Hamann, HTW Dresden, Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany

3DPC 2017 winner in the category MedTech

RIG3D is described as a 3D printed, anatomically customized medical cast that can adjusted depending on the patient and their injuries.

While the 2017 edition of 3DPC may be over, some of its winners and finalists will be displayed at other events as part of the competition’s “Roadshow,” and the contest is expected to return next year.

For the 2017 edition, entry to the competition was free for students, recently graduated young professionals, and exhibitors at the Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D. event. Established companies were charged a fee of 250 euros to enter.



Posted in 3D Printing Events



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