Q&A: Maker Faire Design Challenge Presented by SketchUp

CNC & Machining
Q&A: Maker Faire Design Challenge Presented by SketchUp


Make-SketchUp_Button_125x125_v2The submissions for our first ever Maker Faire Design Challenge are coming in as makers and designers finalize their entries. One maker or team of makers will have their travel expenses to Maker Faire Bay Area covered next month, and get to work alongside our partners from SketchUp and ShopBot Tools to realize their design. Furthermore, attendees will then have a unique and novel way of retrieving information at Maker Faire and wayfinding to highlighted areas throughout the grounds of the event. All thanks to your information kiosk design!

This is your final week and weekend to focus on your entry. Submissions are due by 11:59pm PT on Monday, April 14th.

We also wanted to highlight some questions from makers. Hopefully these Q&As will provide some last-minute guidelines for anyone interested in the Challenge.

Do all the pieces need to be through-cut, or can there be partial depth/relief cuts, especially for decorative elements? There can be partial depth cuts, for joinery features like half-lap connections and for decorative details. Keep in mind these types of cuts can take longer, and the build time is limited.

Do all the through-cuts need to be 90 degrees to the surface, or are beveled cuts possible? The bit will always be at 90 degrees to the surface, but it’s possible to cut bevels by moving “up and over” as a 3D move, cutting with the edge of the bit.

What is the minimum tool cut width? We will cut the parts with a 1/4″ diameter bit or larger … 3/8″ is preferable if it works with your design.

How should I estimate cutting time into the project budget? You actually only need to consider material and shipping cost into the budget because of SketchUp’s partnership with ShopBot. ShopBot will be taking care of the labor to cut the design.

Is it important that the design is made in SketchUp, or could another software platform, such as Autodesk Inventor, be used? It is not required that you use the SketchUp platform. Whatever you are most comfortable with. I believe you can upload any design file to SketchUp as well.

What type of final file deliverables are required (should DXF files with all the parts fully nested be provided)? We’re asking people to share their projects on 3D Warehouse, so a SketchUp model is ideal. We’ll accept a link to a DXF file, or anything we can import into SketchUp Pro, so even if you don’t design in SketchUp, we’ll be using that as our communication platform.

What type of ground surface will it be constructed on? Plan for asphalt.

Is assembly using screws, most efficiently done with a power driver, acceptable? Yes, this is acceptable.

Does it need to “flat pack” after disassembly, or is breaking it into small component subassemblies sufficient? Flatpacking seems preferable, but if you have a compelling design or logistical reason for otherwise, we’d love to understand it!

Can electronic effects, such as LED accent lighting, sound effects, etc. be incorporated into the design? Sure, those sound fun, but keep in mind that we’ll have a limited timeframe to install them. So those kinds of effects are not discouraged at all, but it would be helpful to know your estimate for installing them onsite!

Especially love that last question!

For an almost excessive inspirational video of the possibilities of CNC-cut plywood, check out this sprawling 4,400 sq. ft. ‘Superdesk’ installed at NYC ad agency The Barbarian Group’s office. Yes that’s a 0.1 acre desk! Watch:

Of course your entry for the Maker Faire Design Challenge will be much smaller! Depending on your choice of plywood thickness you will be limited to 20 or 30 sheets.

You now have 5 days left to complete a design for entry and possibly win a travel expenses-paid trip to Maker Faire Bay Area! International entries are welcome. Get modeling and we look forward to your submissions.

Enter the Maker Faire Design Challenge presented by SketchUp

Have questions? Comments? Get in touch with us at contests@makermedia.com


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I'm an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

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