Around a half dozen 3D printing contests are launched in different places during the holidays, showcasing some of the best designs the industry has to offer. Should you join any of them? Will it help increase your exposure and marketing? Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard give their opinions on this matter. Listen in as they explain why they do not participate in any of these contests and provide some useful advice to those who want to go for it anyway.
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Should I Participate In Holiday 3D Printing Contests?
This is the Ask Us Anything segment. This question comes out to us holiday-appropriate. They’re asking if they should participate in holiday contests or 3D printing contests in general. We participated and had an unfortunate experience on the Instructables website and it was more of their website problem than it was the contest itself. We had Vicky Somma on and she was one of the finalists in the White House competition on Instructables and her ornament was displayed in the White House on a tree, which was cool for her. It’s great visibility for a nice ornament. As far as I could tell from a quick little research I did, there are about maybe half a dozen contests going on at various places.
CGTrader is having one. Habitat for the Holidays is having one through ReStores. i.materialise and Instructables have won all the time, so they’re always going on there. Even Polar 3D was having one. There are some fun contests going on. I couldn’t find anywhere where it said that the White House was running one again. I don’t know if that was just a fad and they decided not to do it again, which is a shame. They should do it more often. I feel that if you’re already making ornaments and you’re making designs, you should do it if it’s your business. I don’t know how I feel about that. A contest has never been a good thing in the design world to me.
It depends on your motivation. If you’re using it as justification for spending some time working on a design and you want to work on your skills and you want a deadline attached to it so it doesn’t just hang out there forever, maybe that’s fine. You’ve got to realize most of the time with these competitions, you are giving up the right to your design, your STL file. You’re allowing them to print it and promote it, and you’re not going to get paid for it usually. Your only chance of recognition is winning an award in the contest, so be aware of that. It depends on what your goal is, and I agree with you. Having nothing to do with 3D printing, many design professionals I know won competitions that they entered and it never did anything for them business-wise. They got a little promotion out of it, but it didn’t increase their business much.
If it’s not going to increase your business then you have long-term issues with it. It was spending the time wise on it. Also, because cross platforms from websites from some of the things that I can tell was that, you can’t push something on a different website that you want to contest on the other website. They’ll take it down and/or they won’t allow it or you don’t even have a right to it in some cases because you’ve printed it up. You can’t put it for sale anywhere else. It doesn’t help you. If you’ve got a Shapeways shop and you want to contest on Instructables. Those kinds of things don’t translate.If you think your personal goals are not hurt by joining a 3D printing contest, then go for it. Click To Tweet
You have to go in with your eyes open. If your personal goals are not hurt or derailed by what this competition is going to do, then go for it. Maybe you’ll get some marketing benefit out of it but it’s a risk. You’re going to give up something for the chance at getting that.
On the flip side of that though, in some of these other companies, you have an issue in which there aren’t a lot of people participating in these contests. You have a higher likelihood of winning in some of the smaller sites. I don’t know how big Polar 3Ds contest is but ReStores Habitat for the Holidays doesn’t seem huge because it’s a whole different business that isn’t solely focused around 3D printing and they’re localized in Asheville, North Carolina. They have a high likelihood of if you’ve applied, you might get it in there. You might win because of that, and when we had that experience when we applied to Asia for that China project. We had a high likelihood of winning because there were few in our category. That is also a plus for you if you do want to add it to your resume. It’s important on your bottom line to say you were a 3D print award winner.
Another good point along those lines, Tracy, is that if there are some creative competitions in general out there, either in your community or your school or your region that are not 3D printing specific competitions. If the rules allow you to use 3D printing as a part of the solution, you probably might get more exposure from that than being one of many entering a 3D print design competition.
I hope that helps you. Architects have a little more formal, professional way in which they participate in these contests. It’s a big deal and it’s prestigious for the architectural firms but we found in the world of design that it’s more advertising. The designer is someone who loses after spending hours of work and then the ones that never win in the process so it’s never been worthwhile. Our business is certainly not worth our hours of time. It’s always aside for us.
If I was a student, I would be all over it but as a professional, not so much.
We hope that helps you. If you have any questions about design or your competitions or anything like that, we’d love to hear about it. You can reach us anywhere on social media @HazzDesign.
Also on our website, 3DStartPoint.com. It’s a great free resource for all of you out there regarding anything 3D, including this show, and lots of blogs and things. You can always reach us there. There are some email addresses. Thanks for reading.
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