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2008 Design for Direct Digital Manufacturing Competition Winners

Winning Entries, First Place
Door handles Aftermarket Car Door Handles (PDF)
Reid Archibald, Erik Ostler and Thomas Shupe, Utah State University, Logan, Utah
Synopsis: The customized door handles were manufactured using selective laser melting (SLM) from stainless steel. Currently many aftermarket products are available to customize the exterior of your car. However, choices for aftermarket door handles are limited to a few existing designs. The customized door handle will not only expand the market by enabling production of unique custom designs, but also succeeds in differentiating a car from any other.
Air vents Customized Air Vents Using DDM (PDF)
Nathan Fuller, Nathan Donahue and Prasad Gankanda, Utah State University, Logan, Utah
Synopsis: After extensive research into the custom car part market, it was found that the ability to customize air vents was extremely limited. People are desperate to customize their air vents but do not have sufficient means to do so. For this reason, as well as the several areas where DDM technology would be fully utilized, customized air vents were chosen for this project. The DDM design process allows for any customization to any unique design that can be modeled, but also creates the need for geometric features that allow mobility in assemblies.
Hood ornament Custom Head Hood Ornaments (PDF)
Cormac McCarthy, David Williams and Jared Campbell, Utah State University, Logan, Utah
Synopsis: Custom hood ornaments can add a lot of flare to your car. Two-dimensional (2D) to 3D imaging technology was harnessed to create 3D hood ornaments of people's faces, hobbies or interests. Trying to customize a hood ornament with traditional manufacturing can be very costly and time consuming. DDM can cut much of the customization costs and consolidate the required assembly parts from 6 to 1.

Software provided as prizes by:


Direct digital manufacturing (or rapid manufacturing) has the unique capability of being able to produce virtually any shape of component, no matter how complex. This opens up new possibilities to designers both in terms of individual component design and overall product design, which makes use of component consolidation. There have been some well-publicized examples of how DDM has been used to achieve realization of innovative designs. Other examples include products that make use of customization to suit individuals' needs, for example, personalized computer peripherals as designed by the 2007 entrants (see below). However, there are many other possibilities that have yet to be explored. The primary limitation on how well DDM is exploited may well lie with how imaginative designers can be.

 2007 DDM Winners


The Task
Student designers were invited to use their imaginations to arrive at an innovative aftermarket automotive peripheral design, which exploits the geometric capabilities of DDM to the fullest. Any type of peripheral could be selected, such as external or internal. The design had to be for a fully working prototype, so it was required that any internal electronics or mechanics be specified and packaged within the product. According to competition rules, the geometry of the design had to have been defined within a CAD system that was capable of producing robust STL files. (A CAD system is 3D geometric modeling software capable of digitally defining the shape of a product.)