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Category Description

The Things category involves drafting, rendering, making, building, 
or forming designs or items  utilizing STEM concepts. Primarily 
focused on engineering and design principles, this category 
provides a venue for everything from 3-D printing to 
architectural design, from woodwork to welding

Be sure to read the general rules and requirements, the full category description document which contains generic information applicable to all categories, and the rubric for the category (all of which are available at the Judging Information page here).

Pertinent Information and Definitions

Entrants in this category design or build something tangible using STEM concepts and real-world tools.

Project Scope

The entries in this category will present a real-world thing, either fully made or designed (or both). The presentation could include full design drawings, 3D graphical renderings, 3D printed models, machined parts, hand-constructed models, sub-pieces of the complete assembly, or other similar item(s).

The build and/or design should have enough detail to show the engineering involved. This may extend to include such things as bills of material, structural analysis, material selection, functional specifications, construction drawings, etc.

Entries in Things are commonly original creations. However, re-creation of existing items is allowed, as long as original work is done as part of the engineering and design process.

One of the considerations in the project is the make-up and granularity of the components used in the creation of the object. If, for instance, the object was a marble, the components involved might be basic glass rods, glass powder, or even sand; but if the object was a suspension bridge, the components might be beams, rivets, etc. (There would be no reason to describe the manufacturing of the bridge all the way from iron ingots.) Conversely, the specific details of components and manufacturing processes should be defined and documented. (For instance, if a 3D printer is used, the make, filament type and size, print temperature, nozzle diameter, print speed, etc. should all be noted.)

Project Display and Description

The project display should show the following:

  • One or more of the following: the actual object, a critical component of the object, a mock-up of the final object, a live graphical rendering of the completed object, or a complete set of printed engineering drawings
  • A description of the ‘thing’, and its purpose
  • A bill of materials (BOM) and/or a description of the reasons why each component/material was used
  • A list of the tool(s) and/or equipment used in design of the ‘thing’
  • A description of the engineering methodology and sequence(s) involved in design and/or build of the ‘thing’
  • Information on build failures (if any) regarding causes and any design/material changes made to solve the issue

Entry, Review, and Judging

Judging will include an interview period and potential additional views of the project display. Judges will use an understanding of the category, this document, the rubric, and the general rules in their evaluations. Please review these documents for other items that may be considered.

What Will Be Judged

  • General display rules and judging criteria
  • Completeness and accuracy of the descriptive documents
  • Quality of workmanship of the ‘thing’ and/or the projects modeling components
  • The understanding of the design/build process

Additional Items that will affect the review and judging conclusions

  • Functionality/practicality of the ‘thing’
  • Complexity of the build process or engineering process