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3-D Printers for Peace Design Contest

By: , Posted on: August 7, 2013

Printers for PeaceWin a Free 3-D Printer in the 3-D Printers for Peace Design Contest

The potential good for 3-D printers is staggering, yet the one thing that most people know about 3-D printers are they can be used to make untraceable plastic guns. Largely because of this unfortunate press coverage a recent poll found that almost a third of Americans believe that you should NOT be allowed to own a 3-D printer. As one of the vast majority of 3-D printing technologists that work on technologies that benefit humanity this has really been bothering me.

To counteract this negative trend, I partnered with some of the members of the 3-D printing community to put together a “3-D Printers for Peace” design competition. Our goal is to encourage people to think about ways 3-D printing can be used for the benefit of humanity and show that the benefits of the technology far out weigh the tiny minority of destructive applications of 3-D printing.

Tech Crunch Interview with Dr. Joshua Pearce of Printers for Peace.

My own lab (Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Laboratory) has already saved tens of thousands of dollars using 3-D printable scientific and engineering equipment. We have developed 3-D printable tools to test water quality, recycle waste plastic and found that 3-D printing consumer goods is better for the environment than shipping them from China.

I hope through the contest we can raise awareness in the general public of the power of 3-D printing to change the world for the better.

The winner will receive a Series 1 3-D printer donated by Type A Machines and valued at $1,400. Second prize will receive our Michigan Tech version of the popular RepRap 3-D printer kit and third prize is a sample pack of printer filament from MatterHackers.

3D Printer

In order to win the contest your designs must be open-source, meaning that they be free and available to everyone. They should offer solutions to problems plaguing humanity that often result in conflict. For example, they might address scarcity of food and water in the developing world, enhance sustainable economic development or provide free, clean energy.

We are challenging the 3D printing community to design things that advance the cause of peace. This is an open-ended contest, but if you’d like some ideas, ask yourself what Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, or Gandhi would make if they had access to 3D printing.

  • low-cost medical devices
  • tools to help pull people out of poverty
  • designs that can reduce racial conflict
  • objects to improve energy efficiency or renewable energy sources to reduce wars over oil
  • tools that would reduce military conflict and spending while making us all safer and more secure
  • things that boost sustainable economic development (e.g. designs for appropriate technology in the developing world to reduce scarcity)

The designs must be manufactured on a RepRap-style printer using plastic filament. To enter, post a design on and tag it “Peace Contest.”

The deadline for entering is September 1, 2013. For detailed contest guidelines go to

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Computer Science

Computing functionality is ubiquitous. Today this logic is built into almost any machine you can think of, from home electronics and appliances to motor vehicles, and it governs the infrastructures we depend on daily — telecommunication, public utilities, transportation. Maintaining it all and driving it forward are professionals and researchers in computer science, across disciplines including:

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