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Design Competition: 2018 Student Winners
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2018 Design Competition Student Winners

Several entries from universities and schools around the world were received for the 2018 Design Competition. The Aluminum Extruders Council and the ET Foundation would like to congratulate the winners and thank all of the students and their faculty advisors and instructors for advancing aluminum extrusion education by supporting the Competition.

To learn more about how the aluminum extrusion industry supports schools, follow AEC on Campus under Academic Resources. And, be sure to follow the ET Foundation International Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition Facebook page at for news and information on future competitions.

First Place: “N-Former” Outdoor Informational Box by Sydney Smith of Purdue University; West Lafayette, IN

Second Place: “Extension" Prosthetic Device for Musicians by Tessa Barnes of Southern Illinois University; Carbondale, IL

Third Place: “Foldo” Folding Wheelbarrow by Bheumsoo (Kyle) Kim of Purdue  University; West Lafayette, IN

Sustainable Design Challenge Winner: "Blade" Home Aquaponics Systems by Jon Beldner of Purdue University; West Lafayette, IN

Honorable Mention: “Alum Shoe” by Emma Jacobs of Sherwood High School; Sherwood, OR

*Click on the thumbnail of each image to be taken to the larger, higher-resolution image* 

First Place - $3,000 Scholarship
"N-Former" Outdoor Informational Box
Sydney Smith
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

N-Former is an electronic informational sign for outdoor areas such as public parks and natural areas. The design incorporates aluminum extrusion in the base and height-adjustable post. The box incorporates touchscreen technology, WiFi connectivity and solar panels to provide an interactive experience for nature enthusiasts.

Student’s reasoning for using aluminum extrusion:

  • Aluminum is resistant to corrosion making it an ideal material for the outdoor application
  • Extrusions allow for height adjustments not found in most interactive signs
  • Single cut for the crank and touchscreen makes it more efficient to produce

Judges’ Comments:

“Extruded aluminum is perfect for this design and improves on designs already out there. The student hit all of the major attributes of aluminum and extrusion: corrosion resistant, light weight, easy to produce, and durable. By adding a solar panel for power and a height-adjustable feature, the informational box design provides an improved interactive experience.”

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Second Place - $2,000 Scholarship Award
“Extension” Prosthetic Device for Musicians
Tessa Barnes
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL

Prosthetic devices exist for instruments such as drums and strings but the prosthetics currently on the market for brass instruments are merely stands that keep the instrument stationary and can only be used indoors. Extension is a prosthetic that is small, lightweight and portable designed for someone missing a portion of their arm to hold a brass instrument. The adjustable straps allow it to be used for different arm sizes and lengths. The

prosthetic is relatively small at 4-inches wide and 6-inches tall incorporating four main parts with slide-together construction allowing for easy assembly and disassembly.

Student’s reasoning for using aluminum extrusion:

  • “the extrusions allow the product to be made at low cost”
  • A cost-effective solution for making this prosthetic affordable to many people.
  • Aluminum is lightweight, which allows young kids to adults to use the product without much difficulty
  • Aluminum is corrosion resistant, allowing the product to be used in many different weather conditions

Judges’ Comments:

“This is a clever and effective use of aluminum extrusion. Although there are prosthetics available for musical instruments, the ones made for brass instruments are stationary. This “Extension” prosthetic uses aluminum’s light weight and extrusion’s design flexibility to fulfill a need by making it portable, which is not the case for current prosthetics.”

“The student incorporates hinge joints in the design, which work great in this application. And the design accommodates different size arms with its adjustable straps making it useful to a variety of physically challenged people.”

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Third Place - $1,000 Scholarship Award
“Foldo” Folding Wheelbarrow
Bheumsoo (Kyle) Kim
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

The “Foldo” is a new design concept that uses aluminum extruded parts to create a folding wheel barrow that also allows for portability and easy storage. While there are foldable wheel barrows currently on the market, they are made with a steel frame. The student designed the wheel barrow from extruded aluminum with built-in folding components for space-saving storage.

Student’s reasoning for using aluminum extrusion

  • Aluminum is lightweight compared to steel, allowing for weight reduction
  • Aluminum increases durability because aluminum is corrosion resistant
  • Easy storage with the folding components made of aluminum extrusions

Judges’ Comments:

“It’s a challenge trying to find storage space for a wheel barrow. This foldable wheel barrow design improves on designs already in the market. The student could have used more extruded aluminum by designing shapes that take better advantage of geometry to increase strength in the profiles. I would have liked to see the handle and the hinges made of extruded aluminum, as well.”

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Sustainable Design Challenge Winner - $2,500 Scholarship Award
"Blade" Home Aquaponics System
Jon Beldner
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Aquaponics systems are a well-proven, eco-friendly method for growing plants by suspending them over an aquarium. They require no fertilizer or pesticides and create a healthy environment for both the plants and fish. Although there are systems on the market, they do not cater to the amateur user. The student’s design includes an adjustable light bar for the plants, adequate circulation between the grow bed and fish tank and a handle/grip underneath the grow bed to make it easy to remove. The LED grow lights incorporated into the aluminum extrusion concentrate the light on plants.

Students’ reasoning for using aluminum extrusion:

  • Due to its oxidation properties, aluminum lends itself well to high-moisture environments
  • Coupled with its light weight, aluminum makes a great choice for the grow bed/reservoir
  • Aluminum’s highly reflective finish concentrates light where it is most needed.

Judges’ Comments:

“The student uses aluminum extrusion in his design to create a system that is more user-friendly with built-in grip areas in the extrusion profile for easy removal of the grow bed and a pivoting grow light.”

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Honorable Mention - $500 Scholarship Award
"Alum Shoe"
Emma Jacobs
Sherwood High School, Sherwood, OR

The Alum Shoe is an aluminum track that can be fitted with a rubber pad. The track has a wide range of applications—from automated minesweeping vehicles that clear up land in conflict zones to snowcats for mountain rescue missions.

The Alum Shoe consists of only four main components and is simple to assemble. All aluminum parts of the Alum Shoe are extrudable with limited post machining. The design of the Alum Shoe can be easily modified to make industrial transport belts.

Judges’ Comments:

“Although the extruded profile is a bit over-engineered and would be costly to extrude, the concept is solid. The flexibility of the track length is a great feature; it can be configured to just about any size.”

“She really did her homework on this and exploited many of aluminum extrusions’ characteristics in her design: ease of assembly, configurable design, incorporating features to reduce fabrication.”

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