Category Archives: Engineering Design Challenge

Fall 2022 Fab Lab Design Challenge

Time is fast approaching for NOVA students (as well as other college, High School, and Middle School students) to submit their designs for the Fall 2022 Fab Lab Design Challenge, which is to fabricate a replica of your favorite science fiction prop. As it has been for previous challenges, there will be prizes including 3D-printers and cash! All entries must be submitted online by December 11.

HOW TO ENTER:

COMPETITION DATES:

  • Competition opens Oct 31 at 11:59 pm
  • Submissions must be received by 11:59 pm December 11
  • Finalists will be announced December 15 at 5:00 pm.
  • Winners announced at the Finalists Exhibition in Jan 2023

OVERVIEW

The rise in popularity of replica prop “garage kits” (on account of their construction in small, non-factory settings) has been celebrated by celebrity DIYer Adam Savage, and hundreds of “Youtubers” alike. DIY Prop replicas are becoming so sophisticated it can be hard to differentiate them from originals.

For our latest Design Challenge, The Fab Lab is celebrating STEM by hosting our own replica prop making competition. As scientists, artists, engineers, and inventors the Fab Lab staff believe the foundation of prop making, especially in science fiction requires a seamless blend of innovation, problem solving, creativity, and craft. Your challenge is to fabricate a replica of an original science fiction prop used in a movie or a TV show. The more convincing your replica is, the greater your chance of winning.

FAQ

What is a prop?

A prop is any inanimate object that an actor interacts with. There is a wide range of props that vary on how they are used and what they are used for. Props are created by the “property department” (also called props department) which is led by the prop master.

How is a prop different to a costume?

Typically, if you wear it, it’s a costume. If you hold it, it’s a prop. However, there is some grey area here – a helmet worn by an actor can be considered both costume and a prop, while a cape or gown would be considered costume.

What about scale?

We will accept full size and scaled replicas, so long as there is precedent for a scaled version. In many cases, the original prop was scaled due to size and budget constraints – think of the Millennium Falcon or Titanic models. Scaled down versions of large models and props are permitted. Smaller props that are intended to interact with an actor should remain true or close to life-size if possible.

Why Science Fiction?

Science fiction has been called the “literature of ideas“, and often explores the potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations. Since science fiction is centered around exploration it has predicted several actual inventions such as the atom bomb, robots, and AI. Science fiction provides the perfect STEM platform for design, fabrication, and engineering.

What do you mean by replica?

A replica for this competition is an imitation or copy of a prop, with an emphasis on recreating the aesthetics in as much detail as possible. Since the original prop might very well be a replica itself, operating parts are optional and not necessary.

RULES AND REGULATIONS:

  1. The Challenge is open to anyone in middle school, high school, or a post-secondary educational institute within the continental USA.
  2. Participants must be 18 years or older or provide consent by a parent or guardian over the age of 18.
  3. Participation is only open to individuals. No team entries will be accepted.
  4. Only 1 entry per person is permitted.
  5. Prop replicas must be related in some way to, or invoke, science fiction.
  6. Judges will select finalists from the online submissions. These finalists will then be asked to deliver and leave their fabricated replicas at the Fab Lab for in-person judging.
  7. Once judging has been completed, an awards ceremony and exhibit of all the physical entries will be held for competitors, winners, VIPs, guests, and judges.
  8. Competitors presenting work that is not their own will be disqualified.
  9. No projectiles, metal blades, pyrotechnics, or functional firearms.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:

  1. Documentation of your completed replica
    1. QTY 5: high-quality, still, color, digital images of your finished replica. (jpeg, jpg, tif, tiff, png, pdf)
    2. Preferably on a neutral (white, grey, black) background
    3. Multiple views are suggested (top, front, side, perspective, etc.)
  2. Documentation of the original prop
    1. QTY 5: high-quality reference images of the original prop. (jpeg, jpg, tif, tiff, png, pdf)
    2. Movie Stills, magazine photos, documentation, plans, etc.
    3. The more detail these provide the better (scale, size, detail, finish, color, weathering)
  3. Evidence of fabrication
    1. QTY 5: high-quality photos documenting your production and fabrication techniques and process. (jpeg, jpg, tif, tiff, png, pdf).
    2. Should span the process from beginning to end
  4. Completed on-line questionnaire and application

JUDGING CRITERIA:

  1. Accuracy, attention to detail, authenticity (0-10 points)
  2. Build quality, craftsmanship, and detail (0-10 points)
  3. Inventiveness, creativity, problem solving, working with limitations (0-10 points)
  4. Choice of materials (0-10 points)
  5. Aesthetics: painting / finishing / weathering (0-10 points)
  6. Functionality such as lights, sounds, mechanical and moving parts (0-10 points)
  7. Display base, case, or presentation (0-10 points)

JUDGES: (TBD)

  • Movie Prop Maker / Special effects artist
  • Smithsonian/air and space museum
  • Director / Actor
  • Fabricator
  • Cabinet Maker/Theater/set designer

PRIZES:

Awards will be presented in each of the following categories:

  • Post-Secondary
    • 1st place: 3D-printer, printer accessories, $250 cash prize
    • 2nd place: $250 cash prize
    • 3rd place: $100 cash prize
  • High School
    • 1st place: 3D-printer, printer accessories, $250 cash prize
    • 2nd place: $250 cash prize
    • 3rd place: $100 cash prize
  • Middle School
    • 1st place: 3D-printer, printer accessories, $250 cash prize
    • 2nd place: $250 cash prize
    • 3rd place: $100 cash prize

 WORKSHOPS: (TBD)

 TERMS & CONDITIONS:

  • Agree to be bound by the decisions of the judges.
  • Warrant that you are eligible to participate.
  • Warrant, to the best of your knowledge, your work is not, and has not been in production or otherwise previously published or exhibited.
  • Warrant neither the work nor its use infringes the intellectual property rights (whether a patent, utility model, functional design right, aesthetic design right, trademark, copyright, or any other intellectual property right) of any other person.
  • Warrant participation shall not constitute employment, assignment or offer of employment, or assignment.
  • Agree participation does not entitle to compensation or reimbursement for any costs.
  • Agree Northern Virginia Community College and all affiliates have the right to promote all entries and winners.
  • Winners will be contacted by NOVA Fab Lab staff to get their contact information and any other information needed.
  • Winning Product will be chosen based on the Rules and Requirements.
  • Winning individuals or teams will be required to collect prize(s) at a chosen NOVA campus and agree to be photographed with their winning designs.
  • Winners agree to the following NOVA Fab Lab/NOVA Community College Graphics Release:

I hereby give the right to take, use, publish, display, broadcast, or print – in any media – photographs, slides, digital images, films, and audio or video recordings made in conjunction with the Fab Lab, to the full extent in which I am included. I understand that such sounds, images, and video may be used for instruction, promotion, advertising, and any other lawful           purpose.

For additional information visit the Design Challenge website or send questions via email to novafablab@nvcc.edu (use the subject heading “2022 Design Challenge”)

Fab Lab Design Challenge

 

Congratulations to our NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge Winners for Spring 2022!

The NOVA Fab Lab held an in-person awards ceremony on Thursday, June 16th to recognize the Spring 2022 Design Challenge winners. As the ceremony’s highlight, students were able to see their designs realized as the actual fabricated products were revealed to them for the first time, alongside family members and friends. Participants also received their prizes, networked with judges and sponsors, and toured NOVA’s state-of-the-art Fab Lab after the event. This year’s challenge was for middle school, high school, or college students to design or refine a product to improve any area of their school. Sponsors for the Design Challenge were BAE Systems, Micron, Amtek Company, Digital Realty, and Dewberry Engineering.

Design Thinking and creative solutions to common challenges are a prominent feature in STEM education and the technology workforce, making the Design Challenge a touchstone for talented young minds to generate ideas in an equitable way. The NOVA Fab Lab’s mission is to decrease the growing skills gap in the Digital Fabrication arena by providing students a more holistic fabrication experience, including access to the most advanced processes, training in 3D Modeling and design, and a foundation in the principles of Design Thinking and creative problem solving.

With a goal of broadening participation and meeting students where they are at, NOVA allowed student entries in any format, including hand-drawn submissions. This was done to re-focus the goal away from simply displaying digital proficiency and more toward ‘solving a problem’ in their community. “One of the Fab Lab missions is to empower students to think and fabricate in unison and help them unlock their potential to recognize and solve complex problems” said Richard Sewell, NOVA’s Fab Lab Coordinator.

Prior to the final submissions, the NOVA Fab Lab provided 16 free Dominating Our Design Challenge prep sessions in February and March. The first, entitled Using Design Thinking, provided a process for moving an idea to a functional solution. The second, Learning the Tools,helped participants learn the strengths and weaknesses for rapid prototyping on four common fabrication technologies: laser cutting, 3D Printing, CNC Routing, and plastic thermoforming. Dominating Our Design Challenge sessions were utilized by 141 participants in 4 locations: Prince William Public Libraries, Arlington Tech, SERVE Family Shelter, the NOVA Fab Lab, and virtually.

After the design submission deadline of April 17, the Fab Lab received 62 total entries, comprised of 123 participants. Once submitted, participants were judged based upon their digital or hand-drawn designs and written descriptions. The top three then had their winning designs fabricated by our Fab Lab team using a CNC router, woodshop equipment and hand tools as well as a Stratasys F370 3D printer and received their fabricated products at the ceremony.

The 1st place award was won by a two-person team consisting of Eli Reeder and Logan Pennington from The Nokesville School for their product titled, iDesk, which is a desk with an iPad screen and charger built-in. The iDesk solves the problem of having to charge laptops and is purposed so that teachers can send assignments directly to the desk tablet. Eli and Logan won the top prize of $500 plus an Ender-3 S1 3D printer, certificate plaques, and their fabricated product.

NOVA’s own Carmen Chica earned 2nd place with her All In Chair design, a desk with a wide backplate chair composed of two adjustable arms to create right-handed and left-handed usage, so all students feel included. Carmen was awarded $300, a 3D printer, a certificate plaque, and her fabricated product.

The 3rd place award went to Harris Lechtman, from George C. Marshall High School for his Study Buddy Organizer, which offers a solution to limited desk space through an attachment that holds a phone, a drink, pencil slots and other sections for desk items. Harris won $100 plus the 3D printer, plaque, and his fabricated product.

Fab Lab Coordinator Lance Lacey reflected on the payoff of a design coming to realization: “I always enjoy seeing the students expressions as they interact with the physical prototype of their idea for the first time. Before it was an idea and a sketch, but then they see an actual functioning product!”

There were also three honorable mention designs: Eva Torrico from Thomas Jefferson Middle School submitted a Terretami Fork, which combines a spoon, fork, knife, straw, chopsticks, and a milk puncturer all into one reusable utensil.

Tyler Freeman, Connor Freeman, and Lucas Morton from MOT Charter High Schooldesigned a Recyclable Lunch Tray with biodegradable and recyclable material that can be vacuum-formed to allow for bulk-production.

Devin Gerdes, from NOVA, was recognized for Print Catcher, which is a customized basket that prevents sheets from touching the ground once they have been printed.

The Design Challenge is made less of a challenge for NOVA SySTEMic to organize thanks to the generous support of our sponsors: BAE Systems (special thanks to David Sargent and Hannah Wilson), Micron (Zuzana Steen and Robert Simmons), Amtek Company (Alex Baddock), Digital Realty, and Dewberry Engineering (Arlene Evans and Barry Dewberry–Arlene is a NOVA Alumna!)

Industry representatives also served as Design Challenge Judges: from BAE, Jim Sturim (a Project Engineer) and Elly Taylor (a Test Technician). From Digital Realty, Karen Petersburg (a Design Manager), and from Dewberry Engineering, Carmen Bere (a Project Engineer).

The Design Challenge also received stellar support from NOVA, including Dr. Chad Knights, VP of IET and College Computing; IET Dean Paula Ford, Dean of Math, Science, and Engineering; Dr. Abe Eftekari, NOVA SySTEMic Program Manager; Aleksander Marthinussen and Kelly Persons from the NOVA Foundation. NOVA Faculty Nina Lord and Michael Spiller also brought their classes over to the Fab Lab to participate.

Additional recognition and thanks to Kristen Burnham from Prince William Public Libraries, Michelle Van Lare from Arlington Tech, Brittany Greer from Rosie Riveters and Amrata Sahasrabudhe from SERVE Family Shelter.

Finally, special recognition goes to the NOVA Fab Lab team including Lance Lacey, Richard Sewell, Brendan Murphy, Kai Le and Valerie Bierhuizen, who developed, strategized and implemented Design Challenge procedures for months, as well as providing effective outreach to get all participants and sponsors involved.

NOVA SySTEMic Coordinator Brendan Murphy reflected on the focus of student creativity: “We built the challenge to be intentionally open-ended to allow for a wide variety of solutions. It’s truly exciting and inspiring to see the creative ideas that students design.”

First place winners Eli Reeder and Logan Pennington had some sage advice for aspiring future Design Challenge participants; “No idea is a bad idea,” said Eli. “Don’t stress out, because you have a lot of time to do it. You spend most of your time brainstorming. Keep it simple,” Logan added. “If you have a good idea already, don’t stress yourself trying to improve it, just tweak the small things.”

The inaugural Design Challenge Ceremony in July 2021 began the process of bringing back in-person events to the Fab Lab. Going forward, the challenge will be held twice-a-year, in both the fall and spring semesters and is open to middle school, high school and college students.

More information about the Fall Design Challenge will be available here and on the NOVA Fab Lab page by the end of the summer.

#WeDoSTEM #DesignThinking

Fab Lab Activities in December

 

Save the Date for December Tours and Workshops!

Dominating our Design Challenge Series
College students, high school and middle school students from all academic disciplines and backgrounds are encouraged to enter the Fab Lab Design Challenge that will be released in February 2022.  The Challenge is sponsored by our industry partner, BAE Systems, and all sessions are offered free of charge.  Although the challenge’s mission is to inspire innovation in fabrication, we want those with great ideas to participate, regardless if they have little to no experience on these topics.  To support applicants, we are offering the following prep session:

Dominating our Design Challenge: Using Design Thinking
This virtual session will explain the five steps of Design Thinking to provide participants with a repeatable process for moving an idea to a functioning solution. The session will include examples of Design Thinking best practices, virtual team exercises in brainstorming, and a reference guide.  Free and virtual format via Zoom.  Two session choices:
Mon 11/29: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)
Thurs 12/9: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)

Dominating our Design Challenge: Learning the Tools
Whether it is turning a digital design into a 2D, 2.5D or a 3D model, or building a physical model from scratch, this in-person session will focus on four common fabrication technologies (laser cutting, additive manufacturing-3D printing, CNC routing, & plastic thermoforming) that can be used to bring your idea into physical space.  This session focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of each of these different processes and how they can be used in rapid prototyping.  Participants will be able to see equipment demonstrations of how each process works.  Free and in-person at the NOVA Fab Lab (Manassas campus).
Mon, 12/6: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)
Thurs 12/16: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)


Tours
NOVA Fab Lab guided in-person tours will be provided for participants to view the spaces and equipment in the Makerspace, Woodshop, and college Mechatronics labs. Open to the public, no registration required .
Sat, 12/4: 10am-2pm (tours start every half hour)
Location: NOVA Manassas Campus, Trailside building, first flr
Address: 10500 Battleview Parkway, Manassas, VA 20109


Mini-Workshop Laser Cutting: Holiday Decoration 

The Lab will be open to the public for a mini-workshop where participants can create a personalized Laser Cut Holiday Decoration. Participants can come and go at any time. The workshop is FREE, no registration required.
Sat, 12/4: 10am-2pm (tours start every half hour)
Location:
NOVA Manassas Campus, Trailside building, first flr
Address:
10500 Battleview Parkway, Manassas, VA 20109


Find more information at www.nvcc.edu/systemic/fablab.html

Design Thinking Fellowship

NOVA is recruiting for the first cohort of Design Thinking Fellows! This NSF-sponsored program is open to college faculty, middle and high school teachers, and informal STEM learning professionals. During this 9-month fellowship, participants will learn how to integrate design thinking into their pedagogy through a professional learning institute, teaching during a 1-week summer camp, and leading their classes through a design challenge. Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,200 for participation.   

Please register here to be updated about the session and application process.  

Feel free to contact systemic@nvcc.edu with any additional questions!  

NOVA Awarded 3-Year “Makers By Design” Grant

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded NOVA a three-year grant, set to begin in September 2021, to establish a Professional Learning program in design thinking pedagogy for secondary and postsecondary educators. Makers By Design (MBD) as we call it, is officially titledSupporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses.

Makers By Design Overview:

> Manufacturing and engineering technologies industries are facing a looming skills gap.

> Employers identify increasing need for soft skills (critical and design thinking, problem solving and communication) as manufacturing transitions to high-tech.

> There is a need to align engineering and engineering technology with industry defined technical and soft skills.

> MBD is a professional learning (PL) program for secondary and postsecondary educators focused on developing design thinking pedagogy through digital fabrication (e.g. 3D printing, laser engraving, CNC) techniques.

> Aligned with NSF includes broadening participation in STEM for underrepresented minorities.

> MBD will foster a community of practice between teachers, faculty, makerspace educators and industry.

The Grant

The curriculum will focus on design thinking projects that involve digital fabrication techniques, including 3D printing, laser engraving, and Computer Numerical Control milling. The Professional Learning program is expected to improve the educator’ teaching practices and enable them to update existing curricula and lesson plans to better align with industry relevant skills and techniques. The project also intends to create a community of practice around design thinking in digital fabrication that will build a beneficial network among secondary teachers, community college faculty, makerspace educators, and regional employers. It is expected that the project will support 36 secondary and postsecondary educators who will teach more than 3,000 K-12 and undergraduate students in the northern Virginia region. These students will have greater interest in and be better prepared for technical careers in manufacturing and engineering.

The overarching goal of the project is to use Professional Learning to move digital fabrication instruction beyond the reproduction of simple objects. Instead, the project will train educators to use pedagogy and cognitive strategies to embed design thinking into their digital fabrication lessons and courses. As a result, students will learn to use design thinking to build complex, useful objects.

The project’s specific aims include to: (1) create a professional learning institute; (2) host digital fabrication summer camps at NOVA and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington; (3) host a semiannual design and digital fabrication challenge; and (4) establish an online resource library of projects and lesson plans created and refined by educators in the community of practice. The project is expected to advance: understanding of the pedagogies that help to develop student interest in manufacturing and engineering; the capacity for Professional Learning to facilitate integration of design thinking into classrooms and makerspaces; and the extent to which a capstone design challenge may foster sustainable change in instructional practices. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation’s economy.

The NOVA Fab Lab has a Makerspace utilized by many NOVA programs and the community as well as a new Makers Program for college students coming up this fall

Check out the NOVA Fab Lab Page

#WeDoSTEM

NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge Winners

NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge 2021 Winners

On July 14th the NOVA Fab Lab held an in-person awards ceremony to recognize the 2021 Design Challenge winners, alongside their family members and friends, who were able to see their fabricated designs, meet the judges, receive their prizes and participate in a Fab Lab tour!

The Design challenge consisted of secondary and post-secondary students designing a product that would interact with a common household item to create a toy or game, to “make something amazing out of something ordinary.” Participants were judged based upon digital designs and written descriptions.  The top three then had their winning designs fabricated in the lab (using a Stratasys F370 3D printer) and received them for the first time at the ceremony. 

The 1st place award was won by a two-person team consisting of Charlotte Miller and Michael Neal for their product titled, Puzzle Knot.  Numerous rubber bands are hooked and interwoven through the cubical structure of the product and then the user must try to unravel the resultant knot.  This team won the top prize of an Ultimaker Original+ 3D printer, one year of Solidworks design software, certificate plaques, and their fabricated product.  

Ines Kapur earned 2nd place with her Corkables design.  Inspired by a childhood craft project (which she still has today), Ines created a series of fun animal faces and legs which attached to either end of a cork. These could then be personalized several ways. Ines received a voucher for a free product development consultation with Storycraft Lab, one year of Solidworks design software, certificate plaque, and her fabricated product.

The 3rd place award went to Oscar Platt for his Spyn Art Machine, which incorporated multiple 3D-printed parts such as cranks, gears, and pins into an assembly capable of making spirograph art on its spinning circular surface. Oscar received one year of Solidworks design software, a certificate plaque, and multiple fabricated versions of his design.  

All participants had a chance to hear from the judges and explore the Fab Lab space.  A guided tour was provided after the event with an emphasis on the additive manufacturing technology (3D printing) used to create the winning design prototypes.  Awards, support, and volunteer judges were provided by our sponsors the Amtek Company, Storycraft Lab, and Micron.  Special thanks to our judges including, Alex Baddock with the Amtek Company, Naomi Claire Crellin with Storycraft Lab, and Afnan Ali with Lockhead Martin. #WeDoSTEM

Original Tweet about the event
Quote Tweet by NOVA President, Dr. Kress