Children! Take part in the Star Trek Replicator Challenge and create food-related 3D objects for space in 2050! –

The love of the sci-fi genre can last a lifetime, with many fans beginning their avowed obsessions as early as kindergarten and elementary school. This obsession is not only harmless, it can be very educational, as young people begin to learn about science and technology with an imagination bolstered by a love of all things science fiction. Yes we are talking about the star wars and star trek series that never seem to go out of style. To reinforce that the appeal of science fiction extends to a place as timeless as outer space itself, the American Society for Mechanical Engineering Foundation (ASME) has partnered with NASA and to Star Trek to sponsor a fun, themed 3D design challenge for US kindergarten students. -12.

One of the aspects of outer space that I have always found so fascinating is the way astronauts eat. Due to the weightless conditions, the liquid does not flow and the cereal does not simply sit in a bowl of milk ready to be devoured. All sorts of devices have been designed to meet the demands of staying satiated in space; there is even a special 3D printed glass that allows an astronaut to drink a good glass of whiskey! But since the rules don’t allow astronauts to drink alcohol in space, 3D-designed food items in space typically focus on utensils and mechanisms for growing and delivering food. And guess what? This is also the theme of this Star Trek Replicator Challenge:

“If you’re a K-12 student in the United States, your challenge is to create a 3D digital model of an inedible food item that astronauts can 3D print in 2050. gone before” with 3D printing, creating designs that help astronauts eat nutritious meals so they can “live long and thrive” in places beyond the International Space Station. Eating a meal in space involves more than the food itself – from growing plants to preparing and eating meals.


There really is no end to the types of devices and machines that can help astronauts eat nutritious meals, which is why this is a great educational theme for this 3D design challenge. After all, the good people of star trek I’ve been doing things in space for a while with the trusty Replicator – what better source of inspiration for your own 3D designs?

rep2When it comes to rules, here are some key things to keep in mind. Each person can only make one submission and no teams are allowed. Your submitted file must be in STL format with a maximum size of 20MB. Images of your item must be submitted in JPG or JPEG format, with a maximum size format of 500KB. Your food item must have a title (maximum of 20 characters) and a description of the usefulness of the object (maximum of 1000 characters). Finally, submissions must be original, G-rated without a company logo, and you must also maintain its identity. free. This means that your name, or anyone else’s, must not appear in the text, title, 3D model, or image.

Understood? If you think you can follow these guidelines, then you’re already well on your way to developing your own 3D model of a 3D printable, inedible, food-related object for outer space circa 2050. Be sure to also check out this 5-page PDF explaining design guidelines to ensure your submission will be accepted. The closing date is May 1, 2016, giving you over two months to complete and submit your design. (Winners will be announced July 5, 2016.)

Watch the video below to learn more about the challenge and the prizes you can win. And may the Force (or the Fork?) be with you as you long print and prosper! Doesn’t that sound like fun? Discuss it on the Star Trek 3D Printing Challenge forum on