RS Components and Allied Electronics: Inventors Reveal World-Changing Prototypes from 48-Hour 3D Design Challenge

  • Prototype products for water conservation, water filtration, energy generation, and bike security hot off the 3D printer in under three days
  • Online voting for most popular design opens today for one week
  • Legacy of DesignSpark Mechanical challenge to highlight free accessibility of 3D design and encourage everyone to start inventing

MANCHESTER, England — (BUSINESS WIRE) — September 20, 2013 — Time is up for the participants of the DesignSpark Mechanical Challenge, the 3D prototyping challenge organized by RS Components (RS) and Allied Electronics (Allied) the trading brands of Electrocomponents plc (LSE: ECM), the world’s leading high service distributor of electronics and maintenance products.

For the past 48 hours, four teams of inventors and top engineers from across the UK and beyond have been immersed in creativity at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, UK, tasked with the serious yet fun challenge of designing a ‘world-changing’ product that could have a significant impact on people’s lives.

Today, the challenge came to an end as the teams, which included Trevor Baylis OBE, the eminent English inventor of the wind-up radio, presented their final prototypes to the world in the shape of 3D printouts.

Followers on Facebook, Twitter and the online DesignSpark engineering community watched the challenge live as the teams conceived and created their designs using DesignSpark Mechanical, the free and intuitive new 3D modeling and assembly tool co-developed by RS/Allied and 3D design specialist SpaceClaim.

The most popular prototype will be decided by an online poll, and viewers are now invited to cast their votes at Voting closes at 2pm British Summer Time on Friday 27th September 2013.

Over the course of the 48-hour challenge, the teams proved that it is possible to quickly and simply design a viable, valuable product through creative, collaborative thinking and the right design tools for support.

Trevor Baylis said, “While we have undoubtedly had a lot of fun over the past few days tinkering with our designs, we have all been here to convey a serious and urgent message to the world. The future of technology will not take care of itself, and needs the intervention of ambassadors like RS/Allied, who are at the heart of engineering, and are clearly motivated to inspire creativity and invention with their free, easy-to-use design tools.”

Martin Keenan, Head of Applications Strategy at RS, added, “Invention need not be limited to the experienced few and it is becoming easier for anyone to get involved in engineering innovation. We hope that this challenge will have helped kick start a new surge in interest among people of all ages, and from all walks of life, thanks to the participation of household names like Trevor Baylis.”

The four teams consisted of design engineers from Arduino, Elektor, Hitex, RepRapPro, Schneider Electric, SpaceClaim, 3M, TE Connectivity, and TraceParts. To replay the action from the event, go to

The world-changing inventions

Team Baylis

A device for efficiently watering plants which minimizes water wastage

Team Baylis’s design conveniently fits any standard plastic bottle. It takes the form of a conical device that easily inserts into the soil, resembling the appearance of a carrot. This invention controls the flow of water and removes the need for manual plant watering, reducing the risk of over-watering. It can be used in any situation where water needs to be dispersed in a controlled manner. The design is simple and cheap to produce, long lasting and scalable.

Inspiration: To encourage people to grow more plants and vegetables and assist with the upkeep of gardens and allotments.

Team Kao

A smart lock that revolutionizes bike security

Team Kao have created a smart lock for bikes that integrates an audible alarm and an immobilization system. As well as securing the bike, this device locks the brakes and handlebars in position. The smart lock will sit inside the front forks of the bike in a single tube, meaning it can easily be fitted to the frame of any bicycle. Most importantly, this invention is a universal add-on, which does not compromise the structure of bike frames.

Inspiration: To cut the cost of bike crime by creating a smart lock device that keeps pace with the technologies of car security systems. To encourage healthier lifestyles through pedal power!

Team Tesla

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