After taking second place in the Seafair Milk Carton Derby using a printed boat made entirely of milk-jug plastic, the Washington Open Object Fabricators (WOOF) proved that 3-D printing was a budding technology. Now the group has proven its ability on the international level, winning first prize at the 3D4D Challenge in London last week.
The 50-member student group beat out six other finalists for the $100,000 top prize for their plan to use giant 3-D printers to turn create lightweight composting toilets and rainwater catchment equipment from waste plastic.
A University of Washington team this week claimed top prize in the first 3D4D Challenge, an international contest to use 3-D printing for social benefit in the developing world. The three undergraduates won $100,000 to form a company that will work with partners in Oaxaca, Mexico, to build machines that can transform waste plastic into composting toilets and pieces for rainwater harvesting systems.
Matthew Rogge, a post-baccalaureate mechanical engineering student who presented the project in London, was inspired by years spent working in the Peace Corps.