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The Greenest Filament Challenge

The Greenest Filament Challenge

Design an object that showcases wood-based 3D filaments for cash prizes!

[group-join name=”the-greenest-filament-challenge”]


The Brief

As 3D printing increases in popularity, there is a growing need for biogradeable filaments that are safer for the environment. Researchers at FPInnovations, one of the world’s largest private, not-for-profit forest research centres, have been exploring various types of environmentally-friendly filaments. They have made filaments from a biopolymer mixed with various wood-based materials (e.g. wood flour, lignin, wood pulp etc.).

The results are very positive and to continue the work needed to bring these materials to the market, FPIntell LAB needs to get others as excited as well! That’s where you, 3D-printing-savvy designers come in. To spark further discussion and generate commercial interest in environmentally friendly filaments, we need to produce engaging 3D-printed objects. We want to highlight the usage of filaments created from wood flour and lignin. These filaments have properties similar to plastic and are dark brown (lignin) and beige (wood flour) in colour (think dark chocolate and milk chocolate).

Be a part of this exciting advancement in the use of renewable, sustainably-sourced materials for the 3D printing sector.
Your design must:

  • Be both sculptural and functional
  • Fit inside the dimensions of 22 cm x 15 cm x 10 cm (L x W x H) or 8.5” x 6” x 4”
  • Have a form that highlights the origin of the filament material in some way;
    • that it comes from trees
    • that it is renewable and biodegradable
  • Exploit the advantages of FDM technology such as;
    • geometric complexity
    • organic form
    • design in voids
  • Respect design guidelines for FDM technology
    • avoid overhangs
    • if assemblies are built in place make sure there is enough ‘play’ to accommodate sagging
    • chamfer/fillet edges to reduce stress points
    • optimize orientation for strength



First Prize $1500 CDN

Second Prize $1000 CDN

Third Prize $500 CDN



The challenge begins on March 14th, 2016 and ends on April 8th, 2016.

The deadline for submissions is 11:59pm PDT on April 8th!

The winners will be announced in mid-April and prize money will be mailed as a cheque or as a bank transfer (for Non-Canadian recipients).

Criteria for Evaluating Concepts

The following criteria will be used by the jury to evaluate the concepts.

  • How well does the object’s form and function showcase the material and capabilities of 3D printing?
  • How novel is the design?
  • How comprehensive and clear is the concept submission?

The following FPInnovations’ employees will comprise the jury:

The Jury (FPInnovations employees)

Charles Gagnon – Vice President of Business Development and promoter

Barbara BellIndustrial Designer and supporter of innovation

Terry Knee – Director of Communications and message shaper


You must be a registered user of FPIntell LAB to participate. If you are not a registered user, you may do so here.

Next, log in and click on the ‘Greenest Filament Challenge’ section and agree to the Terms and Conditions of this challenge.

As a Participant of the Challenge, you will have full access to the interactive features of the Challenge including the ability to submit your own design for inclusion in the contest and comment on other participant’s designs.

How to Submit a Design

From within the Challenge, click on the ‘Upload Concept’ button.

  • Name your design
  • Write a description of your design (maximum 500 words) that explains the design intent and how it solves the challenge
    • Add supporting images using the following file formats JPEG, GIF or PNG
  • Upload your design as an “.stl file” (if you use both materials, use a separate file for each colour)
  • A maximum of 5 files can be included with each submission
  • The maximum size for each file is 6MB


To be eligible to take part in the Contest, Participants must be age 18 or older at the beginning of the Contest. Employees of FPInnovations and its affiliates, and their immediate families and anyone else professionally connected with the Contest are also eligible for participation. Any prize money awarded to employees of FPInnovations will be donated to Forests Without Borders, a charity focused on promoting sustainable forestry around the world. FPInnovations reserves the right to verify the eligibility of Participants and check their identity.

Terms and Conditions

All intellectual property rights to the designs submitted to the Challenge (e.g. text, graphics, images, illustrations, etc.) shall vest with the creating participant. However, in accepting any award from this Challenge, winning participants agree to grant to FPInnovations a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to reproduce, photograph, or otherwise use any winning concepts/designs for promotional, marketing, or research and development purposes. Any such use by FPInnovations shall be accompanied by an acknowledgement that identifies the respective participant(s). Note that any concept/design submitted that is not the original work of the participant, or that could belong to a third party by contractual or employment obligations will be disqualified.

All Challenge winners will be recognized and identified on the FPIntell site upon completion of the Challenge. Each participant may submit only one design. If no designs are submitted that adhere to the criteria or meet the standards expected by the award committee, FPInnovations reserves the right to not award prizes.