Today we launched our first GrabCAD Challenge of 2015. This challenge will help build a better solution for a self-service parcel delivery system. We chose this engineering problem to begin the year based on what members said we could do to improve the GrabCAD Challenge experience: solve real problems, help others, and build skills. In 2015 we plan to do just that.
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Back in January GrabCAD ran a competition with Tern Bicycles to develop a lighter crank for their folding bikes. A tough task but GrabCAD loves a good challenge! Discussion was heated, CAD skills were flexed and out of 34 entries, Hevi received the award (a Verge Duo worth $999). The most difficult part for Tern and GrabCAD? Balancing Open Engineering and IP. It's a challenge in itself - and GrabCAD pulled it off.
Tern produces foldable bikes, a business that does not lend itself to straight-forward designs. Tern packages together a bevy of unique solutions to create a light and compact design. For Tern, the ideas that GrabCAD users may produce might open it up to patent infringement and aid competitors in incorporating a winning crank design into their own knock-offs. The solution? All submissions were private. To get a better picture, GrabCAD had a chat with chief designer Joakim Uimonen. Tern has been dealing with a number of copycat bike-makers over the past years, all of whom have been ‘knocking off our sales’ according to Joakim. Without a doubt, running the challenge this way gave Tern peace of mind.
All files from Tern were shared directly with users that requested them, all of whom had signed a binding NDA. A few users were stymied by the inability to upload their models to the library. By ensuring privacy of models, submitters were guaranteed a certain level of safety for their work as well from other less scrupulous users. Active dialogue between the users, GrabCAD and Tern made sure that a design competition could run without endangering the spirit of collaboration and competition that comes from open engineering.
At the moment, Tern is in the middle of evaluating winning design by GrabCAD user Hevi. In spite of some hiccups and delays, ‘we are still going to produce the crank’ says Joakim. When I asked him what he'd do differently, Joakim said more information like a more complete CAD file and clearer explanation of what is doable and not doable. Other challenges have been intentionally unclear and obtuse because of a fear that giving too much away would lead to piracy and patent infringement. As this challenge showed, successfully balancing a client's trepidation and the principals of open engineering depends on how well GrabCAD fosters an environment of collaboration and accountability among its members. In future, private challenges for the best and most trustworthy members of GrabCAD might be happening, if only to prove that crowdsourcing can produce excellent work.
Konica Minolta 3D Scanning Labs launched an iPhone dock design challenge on GrabCAD a few weeks ago. With over 160 design concepts to choose from, it was a challenge for Michael Bernero of Konica Minolta labs to select winners. Nevertheless, the results are in!
Vincenzo, the first place winner, will be awarded $500 and have his model featured in episode 3 of Shape Lab 360. We'll share that episode with you as soon as it comes out (see episode 2 here). 2nd-10th place winners collect varying amounts of prize money as well as Shape Lab 360 shirts. Congratulations to all participating engineers!
Comments (from Konica Minolta): We admire the form of this dock for both location and minimal usage of material. Very innovative design.
500 Group's Supercar body challenge is officially over! Results have been tallied and $3500 will be handed over to the winners today.
In one of our most exciting challenges yet, around 200 unique concepts for the body of a predetermined chassis from 500 Group were submitted (check out an unlisted sneak peak video of the naked chassis racing around a track... it needs a body!). To determine the winners, approximately the top 25% of designs were selected for screening based on community “likes". From here, each entry was carefully reviewed in terms of challenge requirements. The top 3 submissions from each of the 2 categories (street and track) were then listed from 1st to 3rd place in their original “like” order. Because the challenge yielded an extraordinarily high volume of quality entries we have additionally called out a number of engineers below for an honorable mention. Again, congratulations to all engineers and designers who participated!
500 Group will contact several engineers from the challenge to work together to bring one (or more) of these concepts into reality. Selected engineers will then have the opportunity to help with future 500 Group projects. Without further ado, we are proud to announce...
1st place Darren McKeage http://grabcad.com/library/tosa-street-car-supercarbodychallenge
Comment (from 500 Group): This entry has the complete package, a dynamic mature shape that is not too extreme, great physical balance, deep signature side vents and a great adherence to working with the supplied chassis, including the front and rear boxes. Darren finished his submission by selling it well with phenomenal action renders.
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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
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