The third edition of the „3D Pioneers Challenge“ comes to a successful end


Winners in 7 disciplines were elected Organizers and sponsors compliment the high-class international submissions

Already for the third time the „3D Pioneers Challenge“ took place within the scope of the tradeshow for additive manufacturing Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D in Erfurt.

The unique „3D Pioneers Challenge“ covers a range of verticals and is aimed at designers from all continents who are breaking new ground in the field of 3D printing. After the multistage jury panel 32 submissions made their way to become the lucky finalists being presented at the special exhibition on the tradeshow in Erfurt. The more than 60 sqm huge booth was an outstanding highlight in the fair hall and attracted visitors representatives of the press likewise.

„This was the strongest „3D Pioneers Challenge“ since its start. We are happy that renowned universities and institutes like the UDK Berlin, the MIT, Harvard or the UCL Bartlett as well as big players of design and industry submitted so many world class projects – from architecture, to design and fashion up to material, sustainability and software. We feel the vibes of which possibilities appear through additive manufacturing and which big steps are done in its development.“ summarize the organizers Simone and Christoph Völcker, who perform the design competition in the third year together with the fair Messe Erfurt.

The jury was excited about how this award bundles the trends for the sector. The wide quality made it difficult for the jury to decide. 3DPC can be more than happy with the results. Whereas MedTech was one main focus in the last years, “think big” can be identified as one of the main topics this year. The winners are really impressive.

International entries from 17 countries coming from Europe to Canada, Japan or India have found their way to Erfurt. The 3D Pioneers challenge becomes established as unique competition and is not only because of the groundbreaking exhibition the platform for pioneers in 3D printing. Existing standards are being broken and innovations are determining the market.

The brilliant winners of the session of 2018 were awarded within the context of the networking evening of the Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D on 6th of June. The minister of the Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society of Thuringia, Wolfgang Tiefensee, was not going to miss to open the event and to congratulate the winners.

The winners won prizes of 20,000 Euro in total. Therefrom a prize-money of 15,000 Euro kindly supported by the Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society Thuringia. This makes the „3D Pioneers Challenge” one of the most highly prized awards for innovation in the field of 3D printing.

Among the winners is the team of Julian Ferchow, Patrick Beutler, Tobias Pestalozzi, Mirko Meboldt, Bastian Leutenecker-Twelsiek, Christoph Klahn, with the project „PeakBoil Camping Stove - Unique Outdoor Performance“ of the Inspire AG - ETH Zürich. They won the prizemoney of 6,000 Euro in the category Design.

For the jury it was „extraordinary impressive by the functionality of a gas burner securing life in a high mountains sports. It´s pioneering understanding the problem and using nearly all benefits of 3D Printing for the solution.“

Dorothea Lang, Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle, with her submission in the discipline material „Dynamic Algae“ was awarded as „best student“ and received the MakerBot Replicator Mini+, as well as 1,000 Euro.

This research was conducted on the production of biobased and smart printing material and could convince the jury through „the transformation of the endless available material algae by using the upcoming technology of 4D printing into a smart and dynamic system.“

The entry from the Netherlands „MX3D“ by Joris Laarman Lab, Gijs van der Velden in cooperation with Arup, Autodesk, ArcelorMittal, ABB, Heijmans, Lenovo, Airliquide, AMS Institute, TU Delft and the City of Amsterdam won in the category Digital with its fully functional stainless steel bridge that is „symbolic for the award – Pushing the boundaries and connecting them!“

In the discipline FashionTech the winners are Anna Ryzhova and Nadia Narges Rezaei of the UDK Berlin, department industrial design-technology with their project „Flexa“ and the prizemoney of 2,000 Euro. The jury saw the „potential in the sports-bra for customized fashion for 51 percent of the sportive population. No pain - just sports.“

The submission „Cabin of 3D Printed Curiosities“ of the American team around Emerging Objects with Ronald Rael, Virginia San Fratello, Logman Arja, Hannah Cao, Sandy Curth, Barrak Darweesh, Yonghwan Kim, Daniel Komen, Cooper Rodgers, Alex Schofield, Phirak Suon and Kent Wilson won the category architecture and received the prize-money of 2,000 Euro.

„The cabins beautiful details, its experimental usage of 3D printing and the use of local materials“ convinced the jury about the project that brings together many materials, software, and hardware experiments in architecture.

In the discipline MedTech Felicia Hamm of the Hochschule Darmstadt was the lucky winner with „Pointeeshoe“ for professional classical Ballett. She also won 2,000 Euro. The jury recognized that „the dancers will be supported by using 3D printed materials and technologies to avoid pressure and pain for more creativity in the performance.“

The „Special Mention“ was given to the following projects. They received Netfabb licenses by Autodesk, the 3D Printing Handbook by 3DHubs as well as subscribtions of the designreport magazine:  „Concept breathe“, the breathing car seat, of the ETH Zurich, University Braunschweig and Manuel Kretzer was developed in cooperation with Mike Herbig AUDI AG, Moritz Boos, Maximilian Dauscha, Leon Ehmke, Lydia Jasmin Hempel, Dong-Kwon Lee, Tim Daniel Ingo Lüders, Vanessa Paladino, Benedikt Schaudinn, Sebastian Spiegler, csi Mission Findus and BigRep.

The austrian 3D printed concrete chaise longue „Digital chaise longue“ by Philipp Aduatz and incremental3d with Johannes Ladinig, Georg Grasser, Lukas Härtenberger. „Print your city!“, the submission from the Netherlands by The New Raw, GreenWavePlastics, Urban Mining Corp, Aectual, 10XL, Mano Daniel Szollosi, AMS Institute, Technical University of Delft, AEB Amsterdam and the City of Amsterdam, with their project turning plastic waste into street furniture.

Joris Wegner of the HfK Bremen with „Sculptural high-end heat sink“ to save energy with its high-end amplifiers.

And the spanish entry by the team around Nagami with Gilles Retsin, Manuel Jimenez Garcia, Ivo Tedbury, Vicente Soler, Miguel Angel Jimenez Garcia, Ignacio Viguera Ochoa Design Computation Lab with the project „VoxelChair v1.0 _ Ogonori chaise longue“, that is designed using a new design software specifically developed for robotic spatial 3d-printing.

The exhibition of the finalists will go on roadshow at several German and international spots. It starts with the 3D Druck Verband at the German Bundestag in July in Berlin.

More information you may find here and on

Jury of the „3D Pioneers Challenge” 2018:
Diana Drewes, Haute Innovation; Sven Eberwein, Tesla Design Team; Barbara Friedrich, Design Consulting & Publishing; Eyal Gever, Artist; Sebastian Herkner, Studio Sebastian Herkner; Julia Körner, JK Design GmbH; Achim Menges, ICD Stuttgart; Silvia Olp, aed e.V.; Dirk Simon, FARSOON Europe GmbH (former at BASF3D Print Solutions -B3DPS); Joachim Stumpp, raumPROBE; Andreas Velten, Institute for anaplastology; Christoph Völcker, - 3D  Printing Würth Elektronik eiSos GmbH; Wolf Udo Wagner, Studio Wagner:Design, Deutscher Designer Club DDC; Anouk Wipprecht, FashionTech Designer

Partners of the „3D Pioneers Challenge 2018”
Freestate of Thuringia Ministry of Economics, Science and Digital Society; 3D Hubs;; 3D Printing Business Directory; aed e.V., aed Society for Advancement of Architecture, Engineering, Design; ALL3DP; Avedition; BASF New Business GmbH; Botspot; Canto; DDC Deutscher Designer Club; Designreport; Designspotter; Fabb-it; FIT AG; haute innovation; MakerBot; raumPROBE; Stratasys; Verband 3DDruck e.V.

d.sign21 is a design and consultancy company with a wealth of experience in developing and organizing design challenges. Its expertise in design, additive technologies and the global network suports the 3D Pioneers Challenge.

Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D
Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D is one of Europe‘s most important events in the field of Additive Manufacturing. It has been providing information about the status and development of Rapid Prototyping, the direct production of end products by using Additive Manufacturing as well as the way into series production. With more than 100 user-oriented lectures in the specialist conference and the 3D Printing Conference as well as more than 200 exhibitors on the show floor Rapid.Tech + FabCon 3.D is a high-class industry get-together which is unique in this form. For the 15th anniversary from 5 to 7 June 2018 more than 5,000 international trade visitors and conference participants are expected in Erfurt.

Contact 3D Pioneers Challenge
Völcker & Völcker GbR
3D Pioneers Challenge
Simone Völcker
T: +49 711 477 2748-0 | E-Mail:

Contact Messe Erfurt GmbH
Manuela Braune, Communications Department
T: +49 361 400 1770 | E-Mail:


You can download this press release as a pdf document here.


Pictures of the 3D Pioneers Challenge:

Group Picture of the winners of 3D Pioneers Challenge 2018

Pioneers Challenge I

Pioneers Challenge II

Pioneers Challenge III

Pioneers Challenge IV