The 3D Print Cup returned this summer and yet again brought together the most talented creatives from all corners, united for one purpose - to put 3D printing to the test.

Congratulations to all the designers, artists, students and hobbyists who took part in this year's competition!

Following the success of last year's inaugural challenge, we returned with an even bigger test which asked entrants to create an original 3D character — complete with moveable parts. Chainmail, gears, rotating drums — the possibilities were endless. And the results did not disappoint.

Entrants were allowed to submit one file to result in one single print. The print could consist of multiple pieces to be assembled but no additional parts can be added. Only pieces made on the 3D printer would be accepted.

But that's where the limitations started and finished and as a result we saw the most incredible creations unleashed. Pushing last year's challenge to the next level, the entrants developed designs that quite took our judges' breath away.

But there could only be one winner. Manchester's Kilogramme triumphed for their fairy tale inspired character Howl, praised by judges for the design, execution and sheer attention to detail - taking home with them a Makerbot Replicator (Fifth Generation) and the accolade of p the ultimate 3D champion.

To admire the entered designs and to see the process they went through, scroll down...



Thinking of taking part next time? Here's a run down of the competition requirements. Could you rise to the challenge?


Your challenge, should you choose to accept it is to firstly design a highly original character complete with at least one moveable part (click here for more details on how to enter). The moveable parts must be the result of one print only. Secondly, after the submission date, your print will be returned, to allow you to finish before the judges are asked to deliberate. Thirdly we'd like to have a little fun. We will be resuming our 'Top Trumps' tournament on Awards night so we'd like you to give your character comic style power points within five key disciplines; intelligence, strength, speed, agility and fighting skills. Finally, once you've clicked the submit button, it's time to blog about your experience.

It also might be helpful to note that we are offering an early bird deadline. Every design submitted by 27th May will be reviewed by head judge Mike Mead to reduce the chance of flaws when printed. He will offer feedback on suggested changes, if necessary, so you can chose to amend in time for 9th June cut off.


Using cutting-edge 3D technology, we'll then print your final design ready for you to add the finishing touches, prior to showcasing in front of a panel of industry experts.

Plus…along the way we'll be:

  • Sharing 'how-to' guides to help with the process
  • Hosting informative drop-in sessions, so you can get your hands on the technology and try it out completely free of charge
  • Offering you a chance to speak to leaders in the 3D Print Cup field at two 3D Cup launch party in Manchester … complete with free bar! So you can get their top tips and pick their experienced brains. Plus you'll get a chance to meet like-minded entrant so you can buddy up to share skills if you'd rather work as a team


Then to finally round things off we've got the ultimate awards-cum-networking event in Manchester, the home of our 3D Print Cup. Here we'll be reviving our 'Top Trumps' tournament before crowning the five righteous winners.


Entry guidelines, terms and conditions and a guide to help resources can all be found below.

But to enter all you need to do is:

  1. Register here
  2. Submit your 3D file here
  3. Fill out your comic-style power points entry card


The competition will be divided into five categories and as we appreciate that winning is everything, we are awarding five trophies, one in each area.

BEST CHARACTER (OVERALL WINNER) — top spot, reserved for the best overall entrant

BEST TEAM — champions of collective creativity (groups between 2 and 4)

BEST INDIVIDUAL — the stand-alone shining star

BEST STUDENT — the ultimate undefeated undergrad

BEST NON-MOVER — the design the judges loved whose moveable part, well, failed to move

The overall winner of the 3D print cup will win a Makerbot Replicator (Fifth Generation) 3D printer worth over £2,000 — which in our opinion is the greatest prize available to mankind.




And the winners of the 2014 3D Print Cup are in!

The calibre was extraordinary this year but there can only be one (overall) winner and four amazing category winners. They are:


Best Character (Overall Winner)


A fairy tale inspired character Howl, praised by judges for the design, execution and sheer attention to detail


Best Team

Draw and Code

A character that showcased the agency’s illustrative and animation talents

Brooke and Pacu

Best Individual

Ashley Sparling

A design commended for the creator's finesse in the printing and finishing process


Best Student

Amy Mather

15 year-old bright spark, a 15-year-old self-taught enthusiast showcased the new generation of emerging talent

Peace Deliverer

Best Non-Mover

Jason Nuttall

Freelancer and 3D generalist won for his sheer ambition, in a category which celebrated design over functionality


Last year's inaugural competition saw some of the greatest creative minds in the North-West (plus the US, Brazil and Spain!) pit their creative wits against each other in a battle to win our first ever competition of it's kind.

Over launch parties, and drop-in centres, not to mention blood, sweat and tears, 50 creatives took part over a highly pressurised two week entry window that culminated in a Manchester based wrap party.

The entrants were amazing, blowing our judges' mind. But there could only be five winners:

Brooke and Pacu

Best Character (Overall Winner)

Jonathan Salter

His design of 'Brooke and Pacu' merged the very best of 3D print technology with design aesthetics.


Best Team


The Manchester-based agency scoped the crown with their space travelling entry 'Mechputin'

John Chod

Best Individual

Ross Phillips

The designer produced an incredibly effective character with removable top design


Best Student

Jamie Carr

The Futureworks student pipped all other undergrads to the post with her dino-themed 'Snagglechomp'



"The biggest prize was seeing my character in 3D and the competition provided me with a fantastic opportunity to get my hands on 3D print technology for the very first time."

Richard Jeffers, freelance designer

"I was trying to win the prize for my business. It would be great to create prototypes for future client projects with the Makerbot."

Wini Tse, Code Computer Love

"Loved that any ability could take part, and you could make it as difficult or as easy as you want. I'm looking forward to this year's challenge — I'll relish this as extension to the original challenge."

Michael van der Woude, 2nd year architect student at Liverpool John Moores University



We've assembled some of the UK's most knowledgeable experts in 3D Printing and design to act as our judges. They will all be on hand at the launch party to offer advice and top tips. But most importantly they will be responsible for crowning 2014's winner.

Mike Mead, DigitMe, UCLAN

Self-taught 3D printing expert Mike Mead is based at DigitMe, located at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and is responsible to finding innovative solutions for commercial clients using 3D printing.

As the competition's head judge, he brings with him in depth knowledge on the practical application of 3D and additive manufacturing technology, able to advise on the pitfalls and best practices of using 3D printers.

Mike's technical expertise is second to none. What Mike doesn't know about the technology is not worth knowing.

Matt Pilling, Associate Lecturer at the Manchester School of Architecture

Matt Pilling is The Manchester School of Architecture resident 3D fabrication expert.

Currently doing his PHD on the application of 3D printing in architecture - in addition to teaching the talent of the future - he brings great insight into the theoretical practice of 3D printing.

He will be able to share the importance of 3D Printing in both the visualisation of a project, in addition to outlining its increasing importance in the commercial world.

Rob Millington, Lead Creative at The Neighbourhood

Creative mastermind Rob Millington is one of Manchester's finest design innovators. At the forefront of North Western design, Rob leads a creative team on a day to day basis at The Neighbourhood and is brilliant at spotting imaginative flair.

Rob has been involved in several amazing 3D projects such as the 3D creation and design animation sequences for Modern Warfare 2, and the generation of a 3D design environment for Panasonic. His 'can do' attitude and creative background will help bring your characters to life whilst offering his unique expertise and advice about the world of design.

Steve Kuncewicz, Lawyer specialising in IP,Media & Social Media

Steve Kuncewicz is a specialist lawyer with expert knowledge in Intellectual Property, Media and Social Media based at Bermans, a niche commercial firm in Manchester.

Working mainly in the Media, Digital, Creative and Marketing sectors he offers fantastic insight into licensing and protection of IP, and will be able to advise on these issues at the live events, as part of his role as judge.

His expert knowledge on these sensitive areas means he has previously appeared on BBC Breakfast, Sky News, ITV, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 4 and featured in the titles like The Times, Financial Times and Computer Weekly.



When we launched the 3D Print Cup in 2013, it was on the eve of Mr Wilson's infamous world first, firable 3D gun "The Liberator",

In the last twelve months it's gone from the early-adopter's technology of choice, to one that makes headlines day after day.

Whether it's for creating pasta or creating amputee parts, it seems the world is grasping the power 3D printing offers innovators across the globe.

But it still remains expensive. And when it's hailed as the future of creative arts, that's a problem. So we hope through this competition we can provide as many creatives as possible a chance to access the technology free of charge.

Plus win the model setting the standard in the process.


With unmatched speed, reliability, quality and connectivity for all your 3D printing needs, the fifth generation Makerbot Replicator offers the latest in cutting-edge 3D desktop printing technology.

The latest edition from the trailblaizers in 3D Printers, it's their easiest to use design yet. With an intuitive platform designed to work seamlessly, it is also cloud and app enabled meaning you can connect with any device you want.

Key features include

  • A smart extruder which will alert you when to change film mid-printing — and unlike other models, will allow you to continue with the print in hand, rather than make you start again
  • A 3.5 inch full colour LCD display with intuitive user interface that enables you to access your whole model library
  • 100 micro layer resolution, with the flexibility to offer fast draft or very high quality high resolution
  • Onboard camera for remote monitoring and sharing of designs on thingiverse and other social networks
  • Motion control system to ensure printing is faster and smoother
  • Assisted levelling printing to take the guess work out of platform setting

And all of this could be yours…




The 2014 competition is now closed but keep checking this page - we'll be posting news of the 2015 competition when confirmed!



Get in touch

If you have any questions about the challenge please contact or call Erin or Jo on 0161 881 5941

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