Stratasys Extreme Redesign Challenge: Five Tips for a Winning Design

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Have you ever thought – “I could make that better?” Stratasys, Ltd.’s 13th Annual Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge is your chance to prove it! Stratasys Direct Manufacturing is excited to be a part of this annual contest that challenges students worldwide to solve an unmet need in our world or improve on a current solution while leveraging the power of 3D printing.

Want to know how to create a winning entry for this exciting challenge? Harness your engineering, design and art skills with these five easy steps to an incredible, printable design file.

extreme redesign challenge

1. Explore CAD

If you’re new to 3D printing or need inspiration for your design, the first step to take is to sign up for a free GrabCAD Community account. GrabCAD Community is an interactive forum where millions of designers, engineers and manufacturers can access a library of CAD models and share their 3D designs.

This library is where you can find tons of design inspiration and take a look at previous winners and entries to discover what makes a winning design. Set up your account, and you can submit your design files and support pictures and videos to the challenge.

2. Consider a Redesign

It may be difficult to come up with an original idea of a part that can solve a problem. You may be more inspired by looking around you, at home, at school or in your city, and considering how to improve upon the products, parts and solutions that exist in our world. Think you can improve on the common water bottle? Want to stop your headphone chords from tangling? Need a solution for organizing your work space? There’s endless things we can improve upon in our world, and 3D printing is the perfect technology to make those upgrades happen!

3. Do Research on 3D Printing Technologies & Materials

You need a sound design that considers the tolerance and layer thickness capabilities of the 3D printer you’ll be using, and that includes the calculations related to those capabilities. The winning entries will be produced by Stratasys Direct Manufacturing with Fused Deposition Modeling, Laser Sintering, Stereolithography and/or PolyJet technologies. The differences between these machines’ build styles and material offerings can influence parts significantly.

Check out our recent blog post, Seven Questions to Identify the Best 3D Printing Technology, determine which considerations will determine the right technology for your design. You can use our detailed material spec sheets to understand which material translates best for your design.

4. Prepare Great STL Files

All designs have to be submitted to the challenge as STL files. In CAD software, STL files are made up of triangles forming the surface of a part, causing faceting of the 3D model. Depending on the parameters set up, the faceting of the 3D model will differ. Common parameters that affect faceting of STL files include chord height, deviation, angle tolerance and poly count. It’s imperative to prepare your files for the export with this in mind to ensure quality expectations and design intentions are maintained from CAD to final part production.

There are a number of ways to optimize and prepare your CAD data to guarantee ­files are ready for processing and production. There are adjustments you can make to complex geometry data, such as wall thicknesses, or even small changes to ­file size and features that will help create a pristine STL fi­le and accelerate processing.

You can learn more about the details of how to prepare STL files in our tutorial and whitepaper.

5. Consider the Meaning Behind Your Piece – Write a Great Description

This challenge is all about solving problems or innovating on current solutions to make the world a better place! Really think about the meaning around your idea and write out a story that encapsulates its purpose. Tell us why the world needs it!


This year, first-place winners in every category will receive $2,500 (USD) scholarships, and instructors of first-place students will receive a demo 3D printer in their classroom for a limited time. Second place winners will receive $1,000 (USD) scholarships. The top 10 entries in each category earn a Stratasys apparel item (value up to $50 USD) and a 3D printed model of their design.

The contest rules and entry submission can be found online at Students will need a GrabCAD account to enter, and students under 18 years of age need to ask a parent, guardian or instructor to submit entries on their behalf.

Entries for this exciting challenge will happen through March 9, 2017. Stratasys Direct Manufacturing’s Project Manager Scott Lubell will once again be on the judging panel for the engineering categories.

So let’s get started! See past winners and learn more about the Extreme Redesign Challenge on the Stratasys website.

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