Case Study: The CyDesign Challenges

The CyDesign Challenges were an experiment in every sense of the word. GrabCAD and CyDesign were trying to do some very different things than the standard challenge, which filled us with some excited and trepidation at the same time. With only  a few grainy images, virtually no specs and a single week we asked the GrabCAD community to come up with 3D models, with $500 as a reward.

We completely crushed it, and we say that in a good way! CyDesign was, the words of Product Manager David Hinz, “Impressed, surprised and excited”. The CEO of CyDesign was dubious and David himself felt skeptical at best. I for one felt that perhaps the deadline was too short. But this the thing about crowdsourcing – you casts a wide net over 270,000 Engineers and Designers, you’ll catch the right one. A lot of users cast their own doubts, arguing that there wasn’t even enough time. Yet a few winners stepped up and produced models that easily broke CyDesign’s expectations. Every entry was so good, it was really quite difficult for them to choose the best design. The difference between first place and an honourable mention were slim to none.

David had a great time following the challenge, being an old hand in these sorts of things. The level of knowledge pleasantly surprised him. “When I posted one of the pictures, they called me out and said ‘this isn’t the right one’.” As usual, there were entries from the very ends of the Earth. David noted that a lot of the submissions were from hardcore GrabCAD users – not the casual ones, although there were a few users I hadn’t known about.

One of David’s comments was particularly heart-warming. “The community helped itself …. One user (Taylor G) found this electrical manual, an 800-page manual and then shared it with everyone. This was something I didn’t even find….not only that, they complimented each other. It was really quite something.” Well, it’s GrabCAD sir, what else can you expect when there’s a tough deadline to hit?

Best of all, CyDesign intends to stay in contact with prize-winners to do more CAD work. David said that they will need to get similar work done, and since a lot of users have proven their mettle, it seems like a no-brainer. Despite the truly skeptical responses everyone gave, the Community proved us wrong – this can be done. Tight schedule. No problem. Difficult CAD work – we got it. A big round of applause for everyone who submitted work!