2011 Design for Direct Digital Manufacturing Competition Winners Announced

Winners of the 2011 Design for Digital Manufacturing (DDM) Competition were announced at the annual Society of Manufacturing Engineers' (SME) RAPID Conference & Exposition earlier this year. Students from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell came away with both first and third place finishes while students from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville finished in second place.

The DDM Competition is held every year and students from around the country are encouraged to submit unique products that are made utilizing DDM techniques and materials. This year's contestants had to design a product intended to be, or be part of, a system that utilizes direct digital manufacturing. The product must be able to be used in another assembly and the design should represent a fully functioning prototype. The competition is conducted by SME's Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community (RTAM) community whose goal is to illustrate the impacts and benefits of direct digital manufacturing.

This year's first place winners were University of Massachusetts-Lowell students Adam McLaughlin, Jordan Tye, Lisabet Sizer and Mark Damplo for their "Custom Forearm Crutch Handgrip with Integrated iPod Controller and Flashlight". Their unique design allows people who are in need of crutches to comfortably and seamlessly control an iPod while walking. When asked why they decided to design this particular product, the team explained, "With such a large number of crutches sold, if this product could reach even just a small fraction of crutch users, the product would still be making a huge positive impact on the lives of disabled people".

In second place came Edward Schwartzkopf, Jr., Ismail Kuru, Andrew Parcels and Paul Jansen of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville for their design of an adjustable blade ceiling fan. Their design would allow for a more economical and efficient ceiling fan than standard, multiple-speed fans. This is accomplished through minimal assembly and simplified secondary components such as a single-speed motor and no additional wiring or switches.

Finally, in third place came students Joshua Valley, Benjamin Zlindra-Short and Jon Salerno, also from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Their DDM-designed custom Playstation 3 controller allows for gamers to have more options when personalizing or modifying their video game systems.

"All of this year's winners were outstanding for not only their ingenuity, but also for their ability to recognize products that consumers can actually use and appreciate," said David Leigh, vice chair for the RTAM community. "We are pleased to see direct digital manufacturing being used in such innovative ways."

For more information, visit: www.sme.org/ddmcompetition

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