Design Engine Community Project

Contributed by
Lizabeth Arum

The Design Engine game was specifically created to address educator requests for tools to help students create original works from their own imagination and to help motivate them through the process of mastering desktop 3D printing. While the Starter Pack includes instructions for several common approaches for how to use the cards in an educational context, the Ultimaker team always anticipated that the uses and “flavors of play” would vary greatly depending on the specific aims of the participants.

The Challenge

Over the 2018-2019 school year, we invite students and educators to submit:

Our team of editors will evaluate the submissions, and the best contributions will be included in the next Back to School edition.

Original Challenges

  • 3D emoji
    Create a physical object that evokes an emotion.
  • A legend is born
    Create an object that represents a myth or legend of your own devising.
  • A little game of cat-and-mouse
    Design a cat toy.
  • A little help from a friend
    Design an object to help lift a load.
  • A second life
    Design something that upcycles an existing object.
  • Another link in a chain...
    Create an object that has a connector on two sides. Duplicate it again and again, linking each together....
  • Back to the drawing board
    Design a tool that can be used for drawing and sketching.
  • Bad habits can be hard to break
    Design an object that will change a behavior.
  • Brother, can you spare a penny, nickel, dime...
    Design something that helps you sort spare change.
  • Can I see some ID?
    Design an object to prevent misplacing your ID.
  • Chair this!
    Pick any object that is NOT a chair. Make it into a chair.
  • Distress /De-stress
    Design a stress-relief device.
  • Don't worry, be happy
    Design something that makes someone laugh.
  • Eeek!
    Design something that instills fear.
  • Eureka!
    Design an object that expresses the beauty of math.
  • Fidget about it
    Design a better spinner. You only get one bearing.
  • Full of hot air
    Design a model that needs a balloon.
  • Get cookin'!
    Design something for the kitchen.
  • Get low
    Design something that sinks.
  • Get organized!
    Design something that organizes other things.
  • Go where the GoPro goes
    Design a GoPro attachment.
  • Gotcha!
    Design a trap.
  • Green thumb
    Create something that helps you keep a plant happy.
  • Happy days!
    Design an object that is useful every day of the week.
  • Have it both ways
    Design an object that has a dual purpose.
  • How does your garden grow?
    Design a completely original garden helper, that no one has ever seen before.
  • Hybridize!
    Pick two objects in the room. Select one feature from each, and design a new project that includes both those elements.
  • It's a bird, it's a plane...
    Drawing on our quest to soar through the air, design something that can fly.
  • It's all in the wrist...
    Bracelets, cuffs, wrist-guards, and more! Create a design that can be worn on the wrist.
  • It's not what you think....
    Redesign an everyday object to accomplish the opposite function.
  • Lamp that!
    Pick any object that is NOT a lamp. Make it into a lamp.
  • Let's play it by ear
    Design something to be worn on your ear.
  • Level up Design
    something that balances.
  • Like a rollin' stone
    Design an object that rolls.
  • Make the ordinary extraordinary
    Start with an everyday object and explore!
  • Mimic
    Create an accurate copy of a real world object.
  • Mine! Mine! Mine!
    Design a handle that fits your hand perfectly -- and put it on something!
  • Monkeying around
    Design a tabletop game.
  • Move and shake!
    Design an articulated object.
  • Music to my ears
    Create an object that makes sound or music.
  • Mysteries of Nature
    Design an object inspired by biomimicry.
  • No dice!
    Design a better die for a game (how about this one!). Create the rules for how to use it!
  • Now you're talking
    Design a new communications tool, and instructions how to use it.
  • On the road again
    Design something useful on the road.
  • Pathfinder!
    Create a 3D map that captures your path to work or school, but the object must be small enough to fit in your pocket.
  • Pattern recognition
    Design a model that uses the golden ratio.
  • Project Runway
    Design something that makes the outfit.
  • Puppets at play
    Design a puppet.
  • Put a flower in it
    Design a bud vase (the more unexpected the better).
  • Puzzled?
    Design both a puzzle and its packaging.
  • Shhhhhh!
    Design an object with a secret.
  • Ship in a bottle
    Design something that makes someone ask, "How'd that get in there?"
  • Show me the money
    Design a new monetary system (coins, precious objects).
  • Some assembly required
    Design a 3D model that can be flat-packed.
  • Storytime
    Make a personalized bookmark for a special person or a special book.
  • This - then - that
    Design a crank-driven automaton.
  • Time machine
    There are many ways to measure the passage of time. Design a timekeeper and the secret of its use.
  • We have a winner!
    Design a trophy or prize.
  • What's your superpower?
    Make a ring reflecting for your superpower.
  • Whatever floats your boat
    Design something that floats.
  • Without a shadow of a doubt
    Design an object that casts an interesting shadow.
    Design a zipper pull.

Original Rules


Original "Flavors of Play"

Contributor Cards

Contributor cards are lessons, projects or assignments created by educators with links to resources or the original lesson. Here are two examples of  contributor cards from the Original Starter Pack:

Mark Peeters
Frankie Flood

New Rules

Andrea Relator's Global Goals for Sustainable Development

As of January 1, 2018, you may purchase your own set of the Design Engine from

Alternatively, you can download a print-and-play version, or play the game online.

Print-and-play version

To see the introduction to this project, go to the Design Engine Community Project.