6 Reasons to Harness GrabCAD Challenges I

Launching an engineering challenge on GrabCAD has proven to be helpful for designers and manufacturers from various different industries. Challenges enable companies to collect hundreds of detailed, creative solutions over short periods of time. This article is the first in a 3-part series which will outline some of the most important reasons companies have benefited from GrabCAD Challenges. We hope it encourages you to try this powerful crowd-sourcing approach.

If you are in a company that requires 3D modeling and design, consider harnessing the power of a challenge today. If you know somebody in such a company, share this article with them (post it on Facebook, tweet about it, or email them directly!). Although there will likely always be a need for in-house engineering for certain industries, GrabCAD challenges are a novel and validated approach to mechanical engineering and 3D modeling. Here's why:

#1. Lots of creative ideas generated rapidly

Figulo, a company in Boston 3D printing ceramic objects, wanted to expand their offerings. Figulo contacted GrabCAD and decided to take a chance to harness the engineering power of GrabCAD community. The Ceramic Home Decor object Challenge was launched. This challenge was immensely popular among the engineering community. Over 350 entries were submitted in just 3 weeks! Where else would they be able to generate such a large amount of design concepts so quickly and inexpensively?

Vase with dots by GrabCAD engineer Flaviano Crespi for consideration in Figulo's Ceramic Home Decor object Challenge

Companies use GrabCAD challenges for a number of reasons. Smaller companies may be at that stage where they do not have any in-house CAD capability at all, or not enough additional work to justify hiring another fulltime staff member. Or, their work is sporadic such that they need to surge on very short notice. GrabCAD provides these smaller entities with very low-cost, efficient surge capacity.

#2. Fresh approach to the problem you have been trying to solve in-house

There are so many different engineers participating in each GrabCAD Challenge with different background, experience, culture etc. You can be sure that you will get many creative and out of the box solutions. For larger companies, challenges can be a neat way to energize or stimulate their in-house staff with fresh ideas from non-traditional sources. Seeing and analyzing concepts from dozens of other designers from around the world is very enlightening and can break a staid, introspective, comfortable design department out of their shell.For example American Ramp Company needed new ideas for their skateboard ramps. GrabCAD engineers displayed their truly innovative and creative capabilities by integrating police cars and volcano shapes into their ramp concepts. GrabCAD Challenges help you to receive solutions that take completely new angle's on your problem. Most of our Challenge sponsors have admitted that GrabCAD engineers uploaded concepts which they hadn't even thought of before the challenge.

By using crowd-sourcing in sensitive design areas, the massive collective brain-power of large groups can yield many different nuanced approaches to the same problem. The Challenge sponsor has the benefit of harvesting many surprising ideas which can combine to make a vastly superior final product, in either performance or safety, as compared to any small group or individual.

 A volcano shaped skating ramp, a winning model by Dimitris in American Ramp Company Challenge

Though our Challenge customers are very happy with the results, we continue to hone our Challenge model to better distribute awards, and to better define submission criteria so potential entries are of higher quality, and GrabCAD engineers are more likely to be rewarded for their efforts.

We will upload the other two parts in this series in the coming weeks, but if you'd like to propose a challenge, visit our challenge submission page. We look forward to offering our engineers even more exciting opportunities to compete for prizes in various industries, and we love to offer such a unique and powerful crowd-sourcing method to companies.

To be continued in part II...

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