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3-D printed cars to take flight at IDSA event

By: Robert Grace

July 15, 2013

Designers are planning to make cars using 3-D printing. Well, sort of.

The Industrial Designers Society of America is tapping into the booming interest in additive manufacturing, more widely known as 3-D printing, to spice up its Aug. 21-24 conference in Chicago. IDSA has issued a challenge for interested parties to design a 3-D-printed car to launch down a ski-slope track at the conference.

To enter, one needs to, in the association's words, "design the most awesome car (using our supplied wheels and axle)," and send the resulting 3-D model files created in the STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Data) file format to Zach Kaplan (zach@inventables.com) at Inventables by Aug. 12.

IDSA's judges will select 10 best designs before the conference, based on two criteria: using unique attributes of 3-D printing; and aesthetics (beauty, fun, thematic). The association then will 3-D print the 10 designs and have them ready for launch on Aug. 24 at the conference.

The winner will receive his or her own 3-D printer. Runners-up receive a $100 gift card to use on inventables.com. IDSA said it will base the prizes on on three criteria: best flight (distance/style); most spectacular crash; and best aesthetics. It also plans to videotape the launches so it can post them later on YouTube.

There is no cost to enter, and one does not have to be present at the Launch Day event to win. But Launch Day is part of the IDSA's 2013 international conference, which can only be attended by registered attendees. For more information on the 3-D car challenge and the related technical specifications for the vehicles, or on the conference itself, go to www.idsaconference.org.