Design Your Avatar, and the Best One Will Get 3D Printed

By Kat Hannaford on at

You've seen the US site's shooting challenges; hell, you may remember the Photoshop challenges from years back. Do you know what we're going to do here on Giz UK? Get you designing 3D models, with the winner receiving their entry 3D printed out for keepsies. Oh yes!

3D printing, in case you're not familiar with it, is pretty much our future. It's been knocking around for a few years now, wowing people by spitting out 3D models of a designer's precise 3D sketches, in materials such as metal; plastic; glass and even food.

You don't even need to be a designer, or have fancy software to design something and send it off to a 3D printer -- which is something you're going to learn in our monthly 3D printing challenges, which have been made possible thanks to Nick Allen of 3DPrintUK.


The Challenge

Each month we're going to give you a different theme to follow. This month, we've been inspired by the Halo 3 Battlefield promo, which used over 1,000 3D printed models in the video (seen below). We want to see you create your own 3D figurine or avatar -- based on your own fine image, ideally.


The Technique

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.


The Example

See the Halo character in the picture above? That's something Nick knocked together in a couple of hours, proving that anyone can have a go and design something that's worthy of being printed out.


The Rules

1.) The maximum height of your character 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 31st of October, 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 browsers 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 31st of October, check back here on the 8th of November for the next month's theme. The winner of October's challenge will be announced on the 7th of November.


The Freebies

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.