Pocket-lint is leading the way once again with 3D printed awards for the second year running. And this time they're better than ever thanks to advanced 3D printing techniques and kit.

We've teamed up with the brains over at MakerBot to come up with new, bespoke award trophies. This year the process has evolved for an even better final trophy that will take pride of place in many an esteemed award cabinet, no doubt.

The 12th annual EE Pocket-lint Awards for 2015, on 26 September, sees awards dealt out for best smartphone, best connected toy, gadget of the year and much more. Check the hub link below for all the contenders this year.

READ: Pocket-lint Awards hub 2015

For those wishing to know how those award trophies were made we've spoken with MakerBot about the scientific process involved in 3D printing.

The MakerBot Replicator was used

This year the fifth generation of the MakerBot Replicator 3D printer was used to create the award trophies. This can be bought by any budding desinger for the princely sum of £2,200 from MakerBot.


Each award stands at 18cm high. This was made in conjunction with software design program SolidWorks, as used by industrial product designers.

The printer took 16 hours to churn out all the awards. That might sound like a while, but great things do take time at at 18cm each these awards are not small. The result is a 200 micron resolution with a 0.22mm height for each layer. These were all made at the MakerBot head office in North London.

The awards are made from PLA plastic which is cornstarch based meaning it's totally biodegradable. Not that it'll be allowed to remain anything but perfect while in award trophy cabinets, proudly polished daily, of course.


Weightier awards

Since 3D printing the awards has resulted in a hollow structure, each award is light in weight. This year the challenge was set to give a bit more heft to the awards.

This challenge resulted in a design with a cavity in the base while the pillar section acts as a lid to seal that off. That means the award can be filled after the printing process to add weight, while still remaining a solid structure that looks like a single printed item.

Designed for decadence

The award is made up of six separately printed parts that fit together to end in a seemingly seamless finish. When designing something like this not only does the final shape need to be attractive but it needs to fit within the capabilities of the 3D printer.

MakerBot says: "Last year the award design was influenced by the lollipop BAFTA award, but this year we wanted to make the awards grand and colossal rather than flimsy. So we incorporated a taper into the base to add to the chunky and edgy design."

Other ways MakerBot machines are used include prototyping, model making, props and everyday practical objects like phone covers, clips, key-rings and customisable novelty items. Fun and educational objects can also be easily created. Awards are a very rare treat for the Replicator, especially ones as prestigious as these.