Skip to content
SME Home About SME Awards & Recognition Digital Manufacturing Challenge


Digital Manufacturing Challenge

Design Challenge

Energy and the work it can do are fundamental to our world and they exist in many forms. Harnessing energy through its generation or conversion, transfer and storage, is often accompanied by heat.

The 2019 Digital Manufacturing Challenge emphasizes the thermal management or temperature control of systems, processes or devices that generate, convert, transfer or store energy.

Cross-functional teams are challenged to leverage the design freedom inherent in additive manufacturing in order to simplify or integrate features and functions while simultaneously reducing size, weight and increasing the efficiency of a thermal management system, process or device.

A virtual prototype is to be created comprehending one or more of the seven available additive manufacturing processes.

Contestants must recommend and justify their additive design, process and material selections through their research and cost-benefit/value analysis, and must also include a discussion of all manufacturing considerations in order to achieve the form, function and capability/performance claimed.

View Past Winners



Additive manufacturing embraces a considerable variety of materials and processes suitable for directly creating a wide range of 3D models, prototypes, mock-ups, tooling, end-use parts, assemblies and systems/subsystems. The design freedom enabled by additive manufacturing allows the optimization of form, fit and feature/function integration often not possible by other means. Therefore, student designers and engineers are challenged to go beyond the classroom or laboratory and showcase their technical and commercial talents by demonstrating new and creative ways additive manufacturing can add value.


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 additive manufacturing


Utilization of DDM material(s)

Justify the material(s) selected


Utilization of DDM process(es)

Justify the additive manufacturing 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:

  • A completed entry form
  • STL files of your design
  • A one-page summary stating why your design is suited for direct digital manufacturing (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 report (not to exceed three pages) containing the following additional elements:

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

Submit your questions regarding the final submission or any other competition-related questions to


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 most efficiently and effectively exploited will receive:

  • A complimentary conference pass to RAPID + TCT event
  • A stipend of $1,000 to use for travel and lodging to the conference.
  • A certificate of achievement
  • A complimentary, one-year SME student membership
  • 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