3D Printers for Peace

Contest Winners

3D Printers for Peace – Contest Results

  • 1st Prize: John Van Tuyl
  • 2nd Prize: Matt Courchaine
  • 3rd Price: Aaron Meidinger

3D printing is changing the world. Unfortunately, the only thing many people know about 3D printing is that it can be used to make guns. We want to celebrate designs that will make lives better, not snuff them out.

What is the Printers for Peace Contest?

We are challenging the 3D printing community to design things that advance the cause of peace. This is an open-ended contest, but if you’d like some ideas, ask yourself what Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, or Gandhi would make if they’d had access to 3D printing.

  • low-cost medical devices
  • tools to help pull people out of poverty
  • designs that can reduce racial conflict
  • objects to improve energy efficiency or renewable energy sources to reduce wars over oil
  • tools that would reduce military conflict and spending while making us all safer and more secure
  • things that boost sustainable economic development (e.g. designs for appropriate technology in the developing world to reduce scarcity)


1st Prize

Fully assembled, open-source Type A Machines Series 1 3D Printer
The Series 1 recently won best in class in the Make: Ultimate Guide to 3-D Printing. It has a 9-by-9-by-9-inch build volume, prints at 90mm/sec in PLA, ABS and PVA with 0.1mm resolution.

2nd Prize

Michigan Tech’s MOST version of the RepRap Prusa Mendel open-source 3D printer kit
The RepRap can be built in a weekend. It has a 7.8–by-7.8-by-6.8-inch build volume on a heated bed, prints comfortably at 80 mm/sec ABS, 45 mm/sec PLA, HDPE and PVA with 0.1 mm resolution.

3rd Prize

MatterHackers sampler pack
MatterHackers sampler pack of 3-D printer materials of 3 PRO Series PLA spools, Laywoo-D3, Nylon, and Soft PLA.

Who can enter?

Anyone in the United States or Canada (excluding judges and their relatives). Team entries are welcome. In case a team wins, the prize will be transferred to team leader, who will be solely responsible for sharing it among team members.

How much does it cost to enter?

Nothing. The contest is free, and you can submit as many entries as you like.

Entry Guidelines and Procedures

Designs must be printable using a RepRap or similar open-source FDM printer. Only designs submitted to Thingiverse before September 1, 2013, will be considered.

  1. If you don’t have a Thingiverse account, create your free account and profile at http://www.thingiverse.com/register.
  2. Click on “share more things” and upload your design. Upload the source files for your 3D designs (e.g. CAD files), not just the rendered output as CC-BY-SA. This allows others to improve your design and to make what you designed.
  3. Include a short design description of the design and the impact the completed product will have on creating and sustaining peace.
  4. Include citations! If the design is derived from a previous design or idea, attribution is necessary.
  5. Tag your design “Peace Contest”

Judging Criteria

1. Technical Viability of Printing
The design must be printable on existing RepRaps. See www.reprap.org for technical specifications. Evidence in the form of pictures or video is encouraged.

2. Design Solution and Innovativeness
The design will be judged on appearance, usefulness, innovative design, and usability by the intended users.

3. Peace Considerations
Judges will consider how well the design advances the cause of peace. Designs should reflect thoughtfulness, thorough research, and consideration of the capabilities, limitations, and needs of the users. Designs should advance, directly or indirectly, the safety, wellbeing, and performance of all people. Detailed evidence can be provided in the design description.

4. Feasibility and Concept Validation
The design should be relatively simple to make and use. All research sources must recognized and cited properly.

5. Presentation
Entries will be judged on overall presentation, organization, and how well the entrants communicate their ideas and solution using text, imagery, and other media.


The following Michigan Tech faculty members will be judges:

  • Joshua Pearce, of the Departments of Materials Science & Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering and director of the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Laboratory 
  • John Irwin, of the School of Technology and chair of the mechanical engineering technology program 
  • Doug Opplinger, of the Department of Engineering Fundamentals and director of the High School Enterprise

About 3D printing at Michigan Tech

Michigan Tech has already saved tens of thousands of dollars using 3D printable scientific and engineering equipment. Our labs have developed 3D printable tools to test water quality, recycle waste plastic and found that 3D printing consumer goods is better for the environment than shipping them from China. The technological evolution of 3D printers, widespread Internet access, and inexpensive computing offer new opportunities for open design to enable peaceful and accelerate wealth creation for everyone.

Our goal is to facilitate an open exchange of 3-D designs of technologies that benefit humanity.