A lack of knowledge of how to design products specifically for Additive Manufacturing (AM, also referred to as “3D Printing”) is often viewed as a barrier to industrial adoption of the technology. To advance the AM workforce, the author hosted a 10-week university-wide extracurricular competition that challenged students to design, build, and operate remotely piloted ground and air vehicles made entirely via AM and a standardized electronics kit. The context of the competition was guided by the Department of Defense’s shared vision for forward deployment of AM systems to provide agile on-site part production and reduction of supply chain complexity. The competition vehicles were designed to allow future deployed military or civilian engineers to fabricate remotely-piloted vehicles while in battlefield or austere environmental conditions, such as the site of a natural disaster to search for survivors or to carry out reconnaissance missions. The competition served as unique informal learning environment that engaged over 200 students in the emerging principles of “design for Additive Manufacturing” (DfAM). In this paper, the author presents an overview of the competition structure, and the results of preliminary assessment of the students’ gains in design learning.

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