Open Source Design Challenge

This project is designed to get students thinking about original design solutions to every day problems with a social justice focus. In this project students will design something that is meant to help others, create a 3D model, then share it on as an open source project. Through this platform they will print another classmates design and ask questions in order to refine its application and printability.


Grade Levels

This project would be appropriate for almost any age of students that you would want to work with.

Created By

This project was originally created by
Cam Watt (

and is covered under a Creative Commons license.




Steps to Completion

1. You must create a design that will overcome barrier or problem that you wish to explore, it should be an original idea or a complex remix.
2. Submit a proposal for the project; it must describe your concept, the information you need to gather, and timelines for your progress on this project.
3. Pitch your design concept and proposal to your teacher.
4. Complete a fully documented design, including drawings, a detailed description, 3D design, and an .STL file.
5. Create an account on Post your fully documented design on this include a description and instructions on how you would use your design. Try to be as clear as possible in your instructions. You may want to test print your design to be sure it works
6. Link to another students design on Download the provided .stl file and print it off. Does it print successfully? If so, post a comment about your experience, if not ask the designer to make changes to the original design or provide more information about print settings. Once you have a successful print, test out the design. Does it work as intended? If so, post a comment about your positive experience.


Finished Project

This finished project has multiple places for assessment to take place:

Knowledge: A final 3D design file is submitted for marks. File demonstrates use of CAD software lessons from class and includes learning beyond previous projects.

Thinking:The creative design process is followed, project demonstrates dedication to the design process during class time including thorough research from high level resources resulting in a design solution appropriate for this level of study.

Communication: Description and Instructions posted on are clear and explain both the function of the designed object and how to put it together. YouMagine account is maintained by answering comment questions in a helpful way.

Application: Final design is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, well thought out, and will function as intended. Final design solution is a refined design based on comments from other users online.


Follow Up

A large part of the emphasis in this project is meant to be placed on the idea of designing something that other people need or which will make their lives easier. The technology of 3D printing has great potential to improve the lives of people in many nations around the world who do not have regular, easy access to basic products and household objects (water buckets, glasses, utensils, etc). Students could investigate how the technology of 3D printing has the potential to improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.


Extension Questions

  1. How could the final product  be changed and revised to make it easier to use and easier to print?
  2. Make a list of common household objects that could fairly easily be created on a 3D printer.
  3. What would be the cost of creating and printing a set of household objects compared to purchasing them?


Downloads and More Information

Did you try this project?

Do you have a remixed version? Let us know how it went in the comments section below.