Instead of battling the crowds at your nearest shopping centre, we recommend you really get into the festive spirit by downloading some free CAD software and having a go in this month's 3d Printing Challenge. You can win a 3D-printed model of your own design, plus a Tokyo Flash watch of your choosing.
We announced the winner of our first 3D Printing Challenge only yesterday, in case you missed it, so you can have a squizz at the kind of work 3DPrintUK does from their Oxford HQ. If you manage to win this coming month's challenge, you'll get a 3D-printed model to keep, and any watch you'd like from Tokyo Flash's Japanese design studio.
Each month we're going to give you a different theme to follow. This month, we've been inspired by Land Rover's sleigh concept from two years ago, which you can see above. We want you to create a new high-tech sleigh for Father Christmas, fit not just for 2011, but 3011.
You don't need to spend an arm and a leg on CAD (computer-aided design) software. In fact, 3DPrintUK has a good list of free software you can download and use. We suggest using Google SketchUp, for ease of use, but it's up to you which you pick.
See the sleigh above, created by Oliver Le Grice, Land Rover’s chief designer of advanced design, and Florian Dobe? We want you to come up with your own flying machine, but remember -- it has to be fit for purpose (aka, hauling Santa's fat arse around all Christmas Eve.)
1.) The maximum height of your model should be 150mm, with the maximum model size at 80MB. Minimum detail must be 0.3mm.
2.) Characters can be rigid, or having moving parts. If you include a moving part, please use a ball-in-socket type joint, with a 0.5mm gap between the moving parts.
3.) To enter, you must upload your entry to 3DPrintUK's website here by the 12th of December, with your 3D model (.stl file format preferred); a render/screenshot, and a short description of your model. If you also have a blog/website you'd like us to link to when we publish the gallery of renders (and show off the winner's creation), please do include that with your submission.
4.) The submission must be your own creation. If you submit something using a copyrighted character, it will be excluded.
5.) You can enter as many times per competition as you'd like.
6.) All 3D models will be added to 3DPrintUK's online shop, where readers have the ability to request and buy their own copy of the model. Entrants can choose not to sell their models if preferred, though 3DPrintUK will of course give you a percentage of the profit.
7.) 3DPrintUK also reserves the right to use any entrants' models in promo pics for their business, if needed.
8.) You must be a resident of the UK.
Best of luck! We'll be running a 3D printing challenge every month with 3DPrintUK, so if you miss out on submitting your entry before the 12th of December, check back here on the 2nd of January 2012 for the next month's theme. The winner of November's challenge will be announced on the 19th of December.
We like you; we really do! Which is why 3DPrintUK would like to offer entrants of the 3D printing challenge a 20 per cent discount voucher for their first 3D printed object purchase. To request the discount code, contact Nick at 3DPrintUK here.