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Design for Direct Digital Manufacturing Competition

2015 Design for DDM Competition Challenge, Overview and Judging Criteria

Sponsored by the Direct Digital Manufacturing Tech Group of RTAM/SME

This Year’s Theme: Structures Rule!

Design Challenge
A structurally optimized object or device featuring additive manufacturing capabilities in one or more of the following three categories:
  1. A mobility device for air/space, and/or land and/or sea.
  2. A healthcare device.
  3. An architectural mockup.
Additive manufacturing embraces a considerable variety of materials and processes suitable for directly creating a wide range of 3D models, prototypes, mockups, tooling, end-use parts, assemblies and systems/subsystems. The virtually unlimited design freedom enabled by additive manufacturing allows the optimization of form, fit and feature/function often not possible by other means. Therefore, designers are challenged to showcase their technical and commercial talents by demonstrating new and creative ways additive manufacturing can add value through structural optimization in one or more market segments.

Entries submitted by 12:00 a.m. ET, April 20, 2015, will be considered.

The top designs in each academic level and category will be recognized during RAPID, May 18-21, 2015, in Long Beach, California.

View the winning entries from past competitions here.  
Judging Criteria
Entries are welcome from both college/university students and high school students. The two categories will be judged separately according to the following weighted criteria:






Functionality and durability   Provide a description and analysis of features and functions        


Cost-benefit/value analysis*   

Justify reason(s) for using AM



Utilization of DDM material(s)  

Justify the material(s) selected



Utilization of DDM process(es)  

Justify the AM process(es) used



Design integration and innovation  

Showcase AM capabilities / compare with traditional methods




Justify market appeal and market share forecast



Social and environmental impact  

Forecast, explain, and justify the affects anticipated 



Judges' discretion  







How to Enter
Each category submission will consist of a zipped file, which includes:
  1. A completed 2015 entry form .
  2. An STL file(s) of your design.
  3. A one-page summary stating why your design is suited for DDM.  
    • Include the benefits your design would bring to the consumer.
    • Indicate the volume of the build.
    • Include your name(s) and contact information.
    • Include your school name along with the name of your academic advisor as well as his/her email address plus title of your entry. 

In addition, college/university entrants will also need to submit a three-page report containing the following additional elements:

  1. Justified choices of DDM processes and materials to be used.
  2. Social and environmental impact analysis.
  3. A cost-benefit analysis for using DDM (include an estimate of the quantity to be manufactured). 
  4. Include your name(s) and contact information. 
  5. Include your school name along with the name of your academic advisor including his/her email address with title of your entry.

Submissions must be made using the following process:

  1. Complete your design in a 3D system that can provide an STL format file as well as a STEP file.
  2. Complete the 2015 entry form .
  3. Complete a one-page summary stating why your design is suited for DDM.
  4. Include a rendering or JPEG photo of the completed design.
  5. College and university entrants must also include the three-page report.
  6. Save the entry form, summary page, STL file and report (if applicable) in a zipped file.
  7. Upload the zipped file containing all forms, reports and design to  
  8. In the "Comments" section, enter "2015 DDM Competition."
  9. Wait for the upload confirmation.**
  10.  Submit all forms and files prior to the Monday, April 20, 2015, deadline. Entries will be judged by Monday, April 27, 2015, and winners will be notified shortly thereafter. An announcement of the winners and runners-up will be made at SME's annual RAPID event, held May 18-21, 2015, in Long Beach, California.

Questions regarding the final submission or any other aspect of the competition and can be sent to:

Peter Ried Jr.
DDM Tech Group

Prizes Awarded
First Prize (One university winner and one high school winner.)

The designer* whose design is judged as being the best example of how DDM can be fully exploited will receive:
  • A complimentary conference pass to RAPID 2015.
  • A stipend of $300 to use for travel and lodging to the conference.
  • A personalized recognition award.
  • A certificate of achievement.
  • A complimentary, one-year SME student membership.
  • An SME logo gift item.
  • A recognition letter sent to the winner with a copy sent to the university advisor/educator.
  • A recognition letter sent to a student newspaper/technical publication designated by the winner.

*Only one (1) individual in each category will be awarded first prize. If the design is submitted by more than one individual, the designated leader will receive the total prize and any co-designer(s) will receive a certificate of achievement only.