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/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/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 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. $10,000 in cash prizes will be offered through the competition.

The Grand Challenge kickoff meeting will be held on Wednesday February 18th (5pm in Goodwin Hall 190). 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”, (ii) “Mechanical Systems Design”, and (iii) “Mechatronic Systems Design”.  These sessions will be video recorded and hosted on the competition’s Scholar site for future viewing.

Grand Challenge Flyer
VT Students can join the Scholar site for more information



Important Dates

Date and Time
Kickoff Meeting
Wednesday, February 18th at 5pm
Goodwin Hall 190
Info Session 1 – Design for Additive Manufacturing
Thursday, February 26th at 6:30pm
Goodwin Hall 190
Info Session 2 – Mechanical Systems Design
Monday, March 2nd at 5pm
Goodwin Hall 190
Design Review
Monday, March 23rd
Info Session 3 – Mechatronics Systems
Goodwin Hall 190
Final Parts Due
Monday, April 6th
Final Competition
Friday, May 1st
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