Search



Innovator of the Future
Innovator of the Future Header Image

Contest Overview

This year's Innovator of the Future (IOF) competition challenges students and young adults to design and machine their choice of two parts. You have the option of designing and machining:

  • Holding Fixture for lens
  • Lens

Your part will be judged by a team of experts at Optimax. Optimax builds optics behind the latest breakthrough technologies in aerospace, defense, and consumer electronics.

You'll be modifying and machining an optic mirror supplied by Optimax. The mirror is similar in design and function to mirrors that they use in their industry-leading aerospace and technology projects.

The “Part Specs” download below is a zipped file containing the following:

  • The mirror as a Mastercam part file.
  • The mirror as a ParaSolid file.
  • Blueprint.

Since you'll have the part file the blueprint is largely for reference - with one major exception. There are two notes in the upper left corner of the print that you should include in your part.

  • Note 1 indicates edge breaking for the entire part.
  • Note 2 indicates the polish for the mirror surface. Note: We know that not all entrants have access to the appropriate polishing equipment. The mirror finish is a goal; we'll be looking at it but will be using it as only one of many judging criteria.

The metal you use is up to. Now choose one of the options below and get started!


Option 1: Engineer the Future
  • Use a stock material of your choice.
  • Modify the supplied part file to reduce the weight by a minimum of 15%.
  • Maintain a minimum 5mm thicknesses on all internal surfaces.
  • The mirror shape cannot be modified and the face of mirror must remain externally unobstructed.
  • The round side-mounting features and the face they sit on cannot be modified and must remain externally unobstructed.
  • Supply a pre- and post-modification weight.
  • Submit the modified part file and your final machined part.
  • Project notes: You have a lot of potential creativity in this project. Do you want to pocket out the back using a floor that reflects the mirror shape to help maintain a more consistent mirror thickness? Do you want to add ribs to help maintain strength? There are a lot of ways you can approach this project. Be sure to let us know why you made the choices you made!
Option 2: Get Creative
  • Use a stock material of your choice.
  • Modify the supplied part file. Use an area such as the back of the part as your canvas. Get creative with a space theme, Mars images, Optimax logo treatment, or something truly wild!
  • The mirror shape cannot be modified and the face of mirror must remain externally unobstructed.
  • The round side-mounting features and the face they sit on cannot be modified and must remain externally unobstructed.
  • Submit the modified part file and your final machined part.
  • Project notes: This is your opportunity to mix art and machining. Since there are fewer engineering specs to achieve, we'll be taking a closer look at the aesthetics and theme of your final project. Feel free to include a brief write up describing why you made the choices you did.

Judging Criteria
  • Originality - Does the design exhibit both mechanical and aesthetic creativity?
  • Functionality - Does it function properly?
  • Aesthetics - Does the design add visual appeal?
  • Quality of Workmanship - Does the entry showcase exceptional workmanship?

Enter the 2014 IOF competition and have a chance to win $1,000, a free set of Mastercam Mill Level 1, and a trip to FL to visit the Kennedy Space Center.

We are hoping to receive more parts than ever this year, and all entries must be received before May 15, 2014. Get cutting, and good luck!

Awards

  • $1,000 check for your schooling needs.
  • Mastercam Mill Level 1 software.
  • A trip for 2 to visit the Kennedy Space Center with CNC Software and Optimax.

Rules

  • The part must be programmed with Mastercam software.
  • The part must have a professional look and remain consistent with the theme industry standards.
  • The part must adhere to the specifications.
  • Tell us the story behind the part: the inspiration for the design, materials used, etc.
  • Include photos of you holding the part, your instructor, the school lab, and the CNC machine. Electronic files are preferred.
  • Submit one finished, unpainted part.*
  • All entries become the property of CNC Software, Inc. Parts cannot be returned.
  • All designs become property of CNC Software, Inc.
  • All entries and completed entry forms must be received by May 15, 2013.
  • When shipping your part, please send an email to iof@mastercam.com. This is so that we may be sure that we receive all parts that are shipped.
  • The IOF contest is open to any individual between the ages of 16 and 25 and have access to a machine shop to cut your part entry.
  • While we welcome past winners to submit entries to show off, past winners are not eligible to win the grand prize.

* Please note that the spirit of this rule is to prevent poor machining from being hidden by paint. As a result, parts may not be heavily painted or leather-wrapped but clear-coats and detail painting will be allowed. The focus should stay on innovative design and quality machining.

Competition Judge

Optimax, founded in 1991 and located in Ontario, NY, builds the optics behind the latest breakthrough technologies in aerospace, defense, and consumer electronics.

They leverage their optics manufacturing technology for programs that benefit mankind and projects that defend our freedom. Their know-how, innovation, and speed enable quicker production of precision optics to meet emerging market needs. Some of the most sophisticated programs in the world trust Optimax to produce the most complex optics reliably.

The judges will be looking for the following criteria:

  • Originality - Does the design exhibit both mechanical and aesthetic creativity?
  • Functionality - Does it function properly?
  • Aesthetics - Does the design add visual appeal?
  • Quality of Workmanship - Does the entry showcase exceptional workmanship?

Request a kit and Part Submission

To request a classroom kit, send us an email at iof@mastercam.com with the following information:

  • Your Name
  • School Name
  • School Shipping Address
  • Number of students in program
  • Any additional information you would like to include

Please ship your entries to:

CNC Software, Inc.
C/O IOF 2013 Competition
671 Old Post Road
Tolland, CT 06084

Do you have questions? If so, please contact us by email at iof@mastercam.com or by phone at 1-800-228-2877.