148 brains have been drained of their futuristic spacecraft-inventing potential over the last month. Who is to blame? Makerbot and GrabCAD. The Makerbot Replicator 2 Design Challenge just finished up at GrabCAD and the winners have been selected. The challenge was to create a 2040 vehicle design. Most of the entries are fabulous designs and the top six are, may I say, JUST DANDY. Especially first place winning entry, ALPHA by GrabCADr Omega, a “futuristic aerodynamic flying spacecraft [that] combines gorgeous curves with hot rod triple exhaust and spoilers.” And, it’s ready for printing. What’s not to like about that?
3D Printed Hovership
Not only is Omega’s entry 10x more Minority Report-ish that the James Clyne’s Hovership concept, it also comes fully tested off the heatbed of a 3D printer. Omega has provided the STEP files of the model, but also the .STL files you can download and print your self. You can see from the test here that it turns our pretty nice (minus the lack of color) and is a splendid conversation piece for your desktop.
I love his description…
After solving the energy crisis with cold fusion, in 2039 scientists made two very important breakthroughs in energy storage and propulsion. A new type of capacitor with an enormous energy density of 1MWh/dm^3 emerged out of a billon dollar project. Secondly, a highly advanced circular magnetoplasmadynamic thruster (cMPD) entered a practical stage. It works by accelerating hydrogen atoms very efficient almost to the speed of light. Through the relativistic mass dilatation which occurs at such particle velocities, only a very small amount of working mass has to be carried along the vehicle. In 2040 a prototype (my entry) utilizing this tech was built in cooperation with Makerbot Industries. The first flight results beat all expectations. From then on it was easy taking off vertically and flying out into space. Only year’s later consumer products came onto market. The traffic was quickly heaved into the third dimension and after two decades, massive autonomous cargo ships left earth heading towards Mars to initiate large scale terrafomation. …and so a new area for mankind began.
Yeah, his ship looks cool and can be 3D printed, but I’m convinced that story won him the contest. Parts are also available via Thingiverse with some specifics on the build in the description. Very slick. When the EvD Replicator 2 arrives, this is definitely one of the first things I want to print. Congrats again to Mr. Omega and the other challenge winners.