The 3D Print Cup is back!

And we're looking for the most talented creatives, from all corners of the UK, to put 3D printing to the test.

Attention all designers, artists, students and hobbyists! 3D printing is taking over the world so don't miss your chance to be part of the action.

Following the success of last year's inaugural competition, we're back with an even bigger challenge and are offering you more time to get involved.

This year we want you to create an original 3D character — complete with moveable parts. Chainmail, gears, rotating drums — the possibilities are endless.

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

But that's where the limitations start and finish. We'll leave the rest to your imagination.

We just want you, very simply, to push last year's challenge to the next level.

In return we are offering you the chance to win - a Makerbot Replicator (Fifth Generation) worth over £2,000. Plus the kudos of joining last year's winner — Jonathan Salter — in our Print Cup Wall of Fame.

Simply put - you design it, the super Makerbot Replicator (Fifth Generation) prints it! Then we'll pitch entries, design against design before our stella list of judges — to determine the ultimate 3D champion.

  • EARLY BIRD DEADLINE: Tuesday 27th May (head judge Mike Mead will review your design to reduce chance of flaws when printed)
  • DEADLINE: Monday 9th June 2014
    Thursday 10th July 2014



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
  4. Publish a minimum of two blog entries. For example you could do one about your entry and another about how the 3D Print Cup is the best experience of your life…ever.


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.



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…




Key dates

22nd May — Makerbot design and print workshop

Location TBC

This is an opportunity to benefit from the judges' experience in an informal evening workshop. Pick their brains and try out the technology free of charge before you submit your design.

9th June — Design submission deadline

23rd June — Your printed character is returned for finishing

Locations to be announced

Your character will be printed in white — it's up to you to finesse it with paint, nail varnish, sanding. We'll be sharing more tips throughout the event but in the meantime, find out more from judge Mike Mead here

This is where the magic happens, or at least begins. You'll have the opportunity to network with the very best of the UK's agency-based, freelance and student creatives whilst we outline full details of the 3D Print Cup Challenge. Plus we'll throw in some 3D experts for good measure, who will share their hard-won expertise as you enjoy the free bar.

Held in our home city and the birthplace of the 3D Print Cup, this event is firstly a chance to kick back with your fellow competitors over a free beer or two.

But most importantly it will be a chance to view all the designs created in this years' challenge and find out who the 3D Print Cup champion is!

We'll also be sharing our limited edition 'Top Trump' style card games cards, featuring all the characters crafted this year. So not only will you be able to battle your fellow creatives on the night with a quick tournament, but take home to play with your friends and colleagues.

Entrants unable to attend will still have their prints judged and will be able to follow the action with our live twitter feed.



To qualify, each challenge entrant must post two blogs containing a link to in a personal or agency blog. Don't worry if you haven't already established yourself in the wondrous world of blogging, it's pretty pain free if you use a service such as Blogger

Plus to make things even easier, we've provided you with a couple of simple templates:

Blog Template 1

200-250 words explaining the following four points:

  • Who you are, what you do and where you work/study
  • How you heard about the competition
  • Reason for taking part e.g. networking, interest in 3D technology or experts
  • Which part of the challenge interests you the most

Blog template 2

In order to reduce your workload, simply take photos of your character documenting event step of the process — from design to finishing.



In order to enter our competition, you will need to provide us with four things, which are detailed below. In return you are invited to attend both of our all-expenses paid events, attend our educational drop-in centres and we will print out your super design in 3D. Interested? Read on…

  1. Register here
  2. Submit your 3D design (file and specification below) by 16th May
  3. Fill out your comic-style super hero entry card that includes;

    1. Your character's name
    2. Your team name
    3. A 2D image of your character
    4. The powers you're giving your character (a total of 100 points, no more than 30 points in each power)
    5. A url to your website / blog / professional showcase platform
  4. Publish two blog entries

This is a light-hearted competition designed to demonstrate the potential of 3D printing. Any attempts to exploit the challenge will get you in some serious bother!

Limitations / requirements

Drop in day will allow you to experiment with your creations, please bear in mind we will be limited in terms of time and filament. Dates of the sessions are to be announced over the next few weeks.


File format: .stl, .obj, .thing only (we cannot guarantee that we can print any other formats)


We are using PLA filament and we cannot guarantee a specific colour or dual extrusion.

The filament we have available is Natural filament


We will scale the characters to be roughly the same size, which we can do using Makerbot Makerware. We do ask though that you don't exceed the max build volume: 24.6 x 15.2 x 14.5 cm (L,W,H).


There's a vast amount of resources that will allow you to create a file that we can print out in 3D available for free online.



Get in touch

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

need skills?

If you have a great idea but lack the 3D skills?

We can help connect you with some great local talent

Contact us here if you need or have 3D skills

  1. (i)

    The competition opens on 26th March 2014.

  2. (ii)

    Participants must be working or studying in the creative industries.

  3. (iii)

    To submit an eligible entry, entrants must fulfill the following criteria:

  4. (iv)

    Design a 3D character with moveable part(s) created to the outlined specifications (view details here), which will then be produced into a 3D model by Entrants are allowed to submit one file to result in one single print. The print can consist of multiple pieces to be assembled but no additional parts can be added. Only pieces made on the 3D printer will be accepted.

  5. (v)

    Submit a design for a corresponding 3DPrintCup 'Top Trumps' style card game, within the specifications supplied here.

  6. (vi)

    Publish a minimum of two blogs between now and 10th July 2014. (i) At least one of the blogs must be written and outline why the entrant decided to take part. A suggested template can be viewed here. (ii) The blogs must be published on the entrant's professional blog outlet. (iii) The blogs must all include a follow link to the event page (

  7. (vii)

    One entry accepted per entrant. An entrant can be a team of up to four or an individual.

  8. (viii)

    The entrant must be the original creator of the design and must have obtained the necessary permissions for the inclusion of copyrighted images (if any) within the design. The design must not infringe the rights of privacy and publicity, copyright, trademarks or intellectual property rights of any person or organisation.

  9. (ix)

    The work must not have been previously published, released or distributed in any form, nor must not have won any awards.

  10. (x)

    If the entrant uses any material or elements in the design which are subject to the rights of a third party, the entrant must obtain prior to submission of the design, the necessary consents from such party to enable to use and showcase the design. Such consent(s) shall be at the expense of the entrant. A non-exhaustive list of such material or elements include: name, likeness of any person and/or audio-visual material which the entrant does not own.

  1. (xi)

    The design may not contain libellous, sexually explicit, disparaging or other inappropriate content.

  2. (xii)

    No entry may contain unlawful, obscene or objectionable material. also reserves the right at any time during the prize draw to remove or disqualify any design when it believes in its sole discretion that the entrant has: (i) infringed any third party's copyright; (ii) does not comply with these terms and conditions; (iii) failed to obtain the necessary consents as set out in these terms and conditions.

  3. (xiii)

    By entering this prize draw, entrants agree that may: (i) showcase their design on's website and any other media in connection with the competition, including blogs and use their names, likenesses, photographs and/or biographical information (as submitted or appears on their company's website and social media plaftorms) and designs for advertising, publicity and promotional purposes without additional compensation.

  4. (xiv)

    The entrant agrees that shall not be liable for any claims, costs, liabilities, damages, expenses and losses arising out of (i) use of the entrant's Work; (ii) the entrant's participation in the prize draw; (iii) technical failures of any kind including, but not limited to, problems or delays arising from software or equipment malfunctions or computer viruses; (iv) any events outside's reasonable control. Nothing in this clause shall be construed to exclude or limit's liability for death or personal injury caused by negligence or any other liability which by law cannot be excluded or limited.

  5. (xv)

    This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law and the Parties submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.

  6. (xvi)

    The promoter of this competition is Cartridge Save Limited, 5-6 Gregson Road, Stockport SK5 7SS

  7. (xvii)

    Winners will be notified at the awards event on 10th July 2014.

  8. (xviii)

    The Makerbot Replicator (Fifth Generation), and worth £2,000, will be awarded to the overall winner. Judges' decision is final.