9/7/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

CubeSat Challenge Winners Named

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Hosted by Stratasys, the competition challenged GrabCAD community members to redesign a CubeSat with 3D printing in mind.


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Stratasys (Minneapolis, Minnesota; Rehovot, Israel) along with its subsidiaries GrabCAD and MakerBot has announced the winners of its CubeSat Challenge. The competition challenged the GrabCAD Community to use 3D printing to rethink the design of a CubeSat, a standardized small satellite frame originally developed to allow university students to build low-cost satellites for research and education purposes. The goal was to design CubeSat structures that would be faster and easier to manufacture, and pack more utility into a small volume.

First place was awarded to Paolo Minetola for his entry FoldSat, a design that uses geometries only possible with 3D printing. Second place went to David Franklin for his entry STRATASATT – FDM ONE, a design that illustrates customization using real CubeSat components. Third place went to Chris Esser with his entry Foldable Articulated CubeSat for Additive Manufacturing. His design featured 3D-printed threads and six hinged panels.

More than 200 entries were received, and submissions demonstrated the ability of additive manufacturing to vastly improve design over traditional manufacturing methods, according to Stratasys.

“Engineers were able to reduce satellite structures from up to 50 parts down to two or three parts by using additive manufacturing,” said Scott Sevcik, business development manager for aerospace and defense at Stratasys. “There were a number of very creative approaches to redesigning the satellite structure, and it was great to see several of the entries consolidate the build down to two or as few as one part. That highlights one of the most significant benefits of 3D printing a structure.”

Entries were judged based on technical requirements including feasibility, production, value and being optimized for additive manufacturing. The judging panel included experts from the aerospace and 3D printing industry:

  • Dr. Jordi Puig-Suari, Cal Poly Professor and Co-Inventor of the CubeSat Standard
  • Dr. Robert Hoyt, CEO and Chief Scientist, Tethers Unlimited Inc.
  • David Espalin, Center Manager - W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation, University of Texas, El Paso
  • Adam Hadaller, Mission Manager, Spaceflight Industries
  • Patrick Price, Aerospace Additive Manufacturing Research Engineer, Stratasys
  • Jesse Marin, Aerospace Project Engineer, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing
  • Jonathan Cook, Director of Product, MakerBot


Visit the GrabCAD CubeSat Challenge results page to view the winning designs.