Author Archive

Evaluating 3D printed parts – if you can, show off the part

Like all GrabCAD Challenges, the Oxygen Valve Splitter Challenge presented a difficult problem: create an oxygen valve splitter that allows for independently controlled flow rates. As the valve splitter is meant for “low-resource environments,” participants had to design their part with certain considerations in mind (speed, minimal post-processing, and printability on a basic FDM machine). In addition to earning the top prize, the winning part has the potential of saving lives.

With over 130 designs submitted, our large panel of judges worked hard to determine the winning entries. While in the ideal world all Challenge participants would have been able to test their designs by printing them out, it is understandable that not everyone has access to a 3D FDM Printer just yet. Luckily, some of the judges including Victoria Au  (3D4MD) and Adam Arabian (Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Seattle Pacific University) were able to print out the finalist entries to test the devices. Here, Andrzej Stewart at the Hi-SEAS IV mission, explains the methodology his team used to evaluate entries.

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Exo Neutrino winning fender design revealed

A month in the making, we’ve now chosen the fender design that was the best in the Exo Neutrino design competition. The honor, and a GoPro Hero HD camera, goes to Gee from Indonesia for his funky looking design.

Exo Neutrino fenders by Gee

Gee’s vision (his day job at Astra Honda Motors must have come handy here) was the best match with what the Exo team had in mind, it suits the scooter and improves the overall look of the bike. But it’s not just the looks, the way it fits on the bike is well thought through, the rear fender is especially well designed functionality wise.

"Some further tweaks and improvements and we’ll happily put those fenders on our scooter. The tweaks are required to make it easier to produce and give the fenders some extra strength and rigidness," said the Exo team.

Who nabbed the two runner up spots?

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$2000 prize for a new yacht deck vent design

Another CrowdCAD challenge! Luxury yacht builder Saare Yachts needs help with designing their deck vent. Come up with the best solution and bag a cool $2000 for your effort.

Saare 41 yacht

The challenge is to design and engineer a deck vent solution that works both when the sailboat is in the middle of the sea, and also when docked in the harbor. Deck vent lets fresh air into the cabin of the yacht to keep the humidity levels inside and outside as close to equal as possible.

The ventilator must be easily adjustable to let in as much or as little air as the user wishes, it needs to operate smoothly (seawater and dirt are a constant companion), have a visual indication that shows how open or closed the vent currently is, and be low maintenance.

The vents currently used have a couple of problems - a threaded system is not best suited for the sea as dirt and salty sea water can enter the thread, making the adjustment of the vent difficult or impossible.

Secondly, the threaded system is not the most user-friendly option as it can take more than 10 turns of the knob to fully close the vent. As said earlier, there’s also no indicator telling whether the vent is open or closed.

In addition to that, Saare Yachts would like to see alternative materials used instead of stainless. This is not a hard requirement though, whatever material you use should withstand salty sea water and has to be easy to clean.

Winner gets $2000

Yes, the best design picked by a joint jury of Saare Yachts and GrabCAD will get a cool sum of $2000. Two runners-up will receive a T-shirt and some other goodies from GrabCAD.

If the winning design goes into production, Saare Yachts will commission further model adjustments, changes, and technical drawings from the winning engineer.

The requirements

  • New closing mechanism - something other than the threaded system used today
  • Weatherproof - must last on an open water yacht
  • No direct access to the cabin through the ventilator
  • Vent must withstand human weight once installed (if somebody accidentally steps on it)
  • Air and water proof once fully closed
  • When open, rain and random splashes of water should not get through the vent into the cabin
  • Simple manufacturable design
  • Ease of installation
  • Maximum airflow possible
  • Dimensions - use the Vetus vent (see below) as a soft reference
  • Design - keep it elegant, we’re dealing with a classical sailing yacht here
  • Soft requirement - you are free to pick your material

Below is an image (click to see the larger version) of a ventilator by Vetus which is used today.

The rules

  • Winning design will be chosen based on the functionality and the opening/closing mechanism, and all other requirements outlined above.
  • The competition is open to everyone.
  • Team entries are welcome. In case of team win, prize money will be transferred to team leader who is solely responsible for splitting it among team members.
  • You can submit several designs.
  • Only models uploaded to GrabCAD library will participate in the competition.
  • Tag your model with "saareyachts" to make it easier to find.
  • You may upload a private model but you need to share access to
  • Privately uploaded models will be made public after the competition deadline.
  • Models can be done in any CAD software as long as a STEP or IGES files are also uploaded.
  • Competition starts: 3rd of August, 2011
  • Competition ends: 14th of August, 2011
  • Competition winner will be announced in GrabCAD’s blog.

Sounds like a jolly old challenge to us :) As you might have noticed we’re welcoming entries from teams - might be a clever way of putting together the expertise of several people to blow competition out of the water (pardon the pun).

Get cracking! Erm… designing!

Saare Yachts logoSaare Yachts is a luxury yacht builder located on the small island of Saaremaa in the Baltic Sea. Ancient local maritime culture and boat building traditions run in their veins.