New Space and Tech

Collaborative 3D Printed Rocket Engine Design Competition

By Keith Cowing
April 8, 2013
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San Francisco – (March 8, 2013) – Today DIYROCKETS and Sunglass are announcing a partnership to launch the world’s first open source competition to create 3D printed rocket engines through collaborative design.

The competition opens for registration at South By Southwest (SXSW) on March 9, and challenges makers, designers and space entrepreneurs to create open source rocket engines that will serve the growing market for small payload delivery into low earth orbit and ultimately, disrupt the space transportation industry.

Although several companies have recently made strides in showcasing the power of the private sector in space exploration, DIYROCKETS is taking this a step further by creating the first of many competitions that encourages the fusion of creativity, technology and collaboration by people across the globe. Utilizing Sunglass’s cloud-based platform to visualize, collaborate, manage versions and exchange feedback on each design with team members and the public from anywhere on the globe, the contest aims to dramatically drive down design costs, while creating innovative technology for all types of space hardware and parts, ranging from space propulsion to space medical sensors. Teams will have the freedom to work in a 3D design environment of their choice such as SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, Rhino or CATIA, while syncing their project to the Sunglass cloud.
DIYROCKETS‘ strategic partnership with Sunglass is the first step in making space design open and collaborative, as the company is offering full usage of its collaborative design platform to all contestants. As the leading prize sponsor of the challenge, Sunglass will award a total of $10,000 in prizes for the winning designs, focusing on technical aspects as well as collaborative teamwork.,* *the world’s leading 3D Printing marketplace and community, will also be providing $500 in free 3D printing to help create each of the top two designs, which will be judged by legendary inventor, Dean Kamen, TED Senior Fellow and Crew Commander of the NASA-funded HI-SEAS Mars simulation, Angelo Vermeulen, and a panel of industry experts hailing from NASA, MIT, TED among others.

“We are excited to be working with Sunglass and Shapeways to harness the power of open sourcing, 3D printing and collaboration in the cloud, which will aid our efforts to rapidly advance space exploration,” said Darlene Damm co-founder and co-president of DIYROCKETS. “As NASA’s push towards private and public innovation finally comes to fruition and technology is now more affordable than ever, we see this as a greenfield opportunity to truly redefine space design and technology.”

“Our goal at Sunglass is to help take the next amazing idea to production faster through global collaboration,” said Nitin Rao, co-founder of Sunglass. “By joining forces with DIYROCKETS and Shapeways for the 3D Rocket Engine Design Challenge, we will be able to see a preview of the incredible impact that 3D printing and cloud collaboration will have in advancing aerospace technology.”

Within less than a year, Sunglass has made tremendous progress in making it possible for designers, architects and engineers across the globe to easily work together on 3D models via its cloud-based collaboration platform. With engagement on the rise and Sunglass’s paid users and teams steadily increasing, the company is bringing continued innovation to the 3D design industry to transform great ideas into products faster.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.