Announcing the 2nd Annual CSD 3D Printing Contest

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Written by

Amy Sarjeant

Posted on

July 22, 2016

At the CCDC we’ve been investigating ways to bring chemistry to life by printing 3D models from crystal structure coordinates.  These hand-held molecules make engaging with science and research more fun.  They’re useful in the classroom as teaching aids and they also make excellent gifts!  So, today we are pleased to announce our 2nd Annual #CSD3DPrint Twitter Contest.

If you’ve been caught by the 3D printing bug and have printed your own structure models, or if you’ve always wanted to give it a try, now is the perfect time to show off your creations!  To enter the contest, simply tweet a picture of your 3D-printed model with the hashtag #CSD3DPrint between now and September 22nd for a chance to win.  Encourage your colleagues, friends and family to retweet and “favourite” your tweet:  Judging will be based on the number of favourites and retweets on Twitter, as well as CCDC staff picks.  The winner will receive a one-year subscription to Make magazine.

The response from the community to last year’s competition was really encouraging, with quite a number of scientists taking up the challenge of this new technology and new functionality in Mercury to produce some impressive models.

The winner of the 2015 competition was Dr Christine Beavers who is a beamline scientist at the Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Christine’s 3D printed model, produced using a Stratasys uPrint SE Plus, is of an unusual egg-shaped endohedral fullerene – in particular Tb3N@C84, the structure of which was published in JACS in 2006 (

The winner: a 3D printed model of the egg-shaped endohedral fullerene Tb3N@C84 (from CSD refcode SENSEK) – model and photograph by Christine Beavers (Advanced Light Source Facility, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

The 2015 competition judges chose this model in particular as it represented an excellent balance of conveying the science through a physical model as well as utilising an accessible 3D printing technology. The model itself represents a cutting-edge area of Chemistry research, but the technology used – fused deposition modelling (FDM) to print in ABS plastic – is also very much within reach for a typical University library or research lab.

We look forward to seeing all the beautiful models you make.  Good luck and happy printing!

The complete contest rules are as follows:

  1. A successful entry must contain a picture of a 3D printed model of a crystal structure and the hashtag #CSD3DPrint. The model really does need to be the property of the account owner who posts the tweet (no stealing anyone else's stuff!).  The tweet can contain any other text, hashtags, mentions or links that the poster feels are appropriate.

  2. Entries containing inappropriate language will not be considered.

  3. Entries with no pictures, without the #CSD3DPrint hashtag, or with only links to other sites with pictures cannot be considered – so make sure you include it.

  4. Tweets that are "lost" due to failure to include the hashtag or misspelling of the hashtag won’t enter the competition – so make sure you include it correctly!

  5. Only Tweets posted before or on September 22nd 2016 will enter the contest.

  6. New stuff, please. Last year's entries will be spotted and won’t win!

  7. Judging will take place by a panel of the CCDC’s expert structural chemists and the winner will be chosen by a complicated combination of the judgement of the panel and the number of engagements obtained by the entry tweets; (and once they’ve made up their collective mind, their decision is final).

  8. The winner will be announced on or after October 3rd through our social media channels, and will be contacted by the CCDC for address details in order to receive his/her prize.

  9. The CCDC reserves the right to use pictures, images and text included in Tweets with the #CSD3DPrint hashtag in our promotional materials in print, on-line and in presentations without further permission from the author or account owner of the Tweet. We will cite and otherwise give credit to the owner of the account that generated the image, when appropriate in the context of the use.

  10. The CCDC reserves the right to cancel the contest without warning and without compensation to individuals who have entered, but we don’t expect this to happen.