Category Archives: STEM Competitions

Fall 2022 Fab Lab Design Challenge Announced!

The NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge for Fall 2022 is now open to NOVA students (as well as High School and Middle School students). The challenge 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!

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
    • Runner up: $250 cash prize
    • 2nd place: $250 cash prize
    • 3rd place: $100 cash prize
  • Middle School
    • 1st place: 3D-printer, printer accessories, $250 cash prize
    • Runner up: $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”)

NOVA Wins Big At SkillsUSA State Leadership Conference

(Back row: Humza Ansari, Tyler Armendaris, Maddie Gebremichael. Middle row: Niki Gordon, Ardian Peach, Hamza Ansari, Claudia Oviedo, Front Row: Alex Choi)

Seven NOVA Students earned seven medallions at the SkillsUSA Virginia State Leadership Conference on April 8-9 in Virginia Beach!

They competed in four competitions: Cybersecurity, Computer Programming, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Job Skills Demonstration.

Cybersecurity Team A (Ardian Peach and Humza Ansari) earned gold, while Cybersecurity Team B (Tyler Armendaris and Hamza Abdo) earned silver.

During competitions students had to demonstrate their technical skill knowledge around topics like Enterprise Router Security, Managing Switch Security and Troubleshooting, as well as completed a written test. Alex Choi earned gold in Computer Programming, showcasing his technical abilities in programming related to Java and C++ as well as completing a written test.

Claudia Oviedo earned gold in Extemporaneous Speaking where she gave a speech after only having 5 minutes to prepare on that topic. And, Maddie Gebremichael earned gold in Job Skill Demonstration A where she gave a speech and taught the judges how to build a suspension bridge and the engineering behind it.  These gold medalists will be advancing to compete at the National Leadership and Skill Conference in June in Atlanta.

During the conference Opening Session, NOVA advisor Niki Gordon was recognized for being the Post-Secondary Representative to the SkillsUSA Virginia Foundation Board of Directors.

Congratulations, all!

#BoldlyNOVA #WeDoSTEM #SkillsUSA #SkillsUSAVA