AM Grand Challenge

Through support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the National Defense University, Robotic Research, and the Stiefel Family Foundation, Virginia Tech’s DREAMS Lab and Mechatronics Lab and the Virginia Tech Applied Research Corporation (VT-ARC) look to engage the next-generation of engineers in designing products for Additive Manufacturing (also referred to as “3D Printing”) via a Grand Challenge competition. In this Grand Challenge, teams will design and fabricate an operational, remotely piloted ground or air vehicle that is able to be made almost entirely by Additive Manufacturing.

This Grand Challenge is motivated by a vision of on-demand manufacturing in remote locations via Additive Manufacturing (AM).  As such, student teams will be challenged to create a ground or air vehicle using only the raw material of the 3D Printer and a provided standardized electronics kit (e.g., motors, battery, receiver, etc.). Competition finalists will pilot their printed ground/air vehicle around an obstacle course and photograph four waypoints. Designs will be judged both on their ability to navigate the course (e.g., time to complete mission, number of obstacles cleared) and their effective use of Additive Manufacturing (e.g., time to print and assemble, number of 3D printed parts).

All Virginia Tech students (undergraduate and graduate) are eligible to participate. $15,000 in cash prizes will be offered through the competition, including $3,000 for first prize in each of the air and ground vehicle competitions and $250 for each team that creates a functional vehicle.

The Grand Challenge kickoff meeting will be held on Monday, March 3rd (7pm in Surge 118C). The final competition will be held on Thursday, May 15th.  To provide teams with additional information and assistance in the challenge, three evening information sessions will be held throughout the competition: (i) “Design for Additive Manufacturing” (March 6th), (ii) “Mechanical Systems Design” (March 19th), and (iii) “Mechatronic Systems Design” (March 26th).  These sessions will be video recorded and hosted on the competition’s Scholar site for future viewing.

VT Students can join the Scholar site for more information


Important Dates

Date and Time
Kickoff Meeting
Monday, March 3, 2014 at 7p
Surge 118C
Evening Session 1 – Design for Additive Manufacturing
Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 7p
Surge 118a
Evening Session 2 – Mechanical Systems Design
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 7p
Surge 118a
Evening Session 3 – Mechatronics Systems
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 7p
Surge 118a
Final Competition
Thursday, May 15, 2014
VT Campus


DREAMS LabDreams_LogoVTARC_logo
Mechatronics Lab







Other Contributions

Robotic Research_Steifel

Electronics kits donated by Robotic Research
Prize money donated by the Stiefel Family Foundation