It's old school meets new school as the hottest technology in additive manufacturing meets the humble slot car in a battle for fast track supremacy.
The folks at i.materialise have put out the call in a challenge to see who can make the baddest slot car shell design.
So if you were born in the last few decades, you might well be asking, what the heck is slot car racing?
Slot car racing pits miniature cars (powered by a tiny electrical engine) on a track built with conductive guides on the surface. The electrified guides contact tabs positioned under the chassis of the model and power the engine. The whole shebang is held on course via a slot in the middle of the parallel power rails, and to give it the juice, the "driver" supplies variable levels of power to the rails through a hand held controller.
And the scale speeds achieved are nothing short of astonishing.
Try to wrap your head around the idea of a full-size car capable of moving around a race track in excess of 2400 miles per hour. The 1/24 scale dragsters available now can routinely cover a scale quarter mile layout in less than a second. That's more than 120 mph in actual speed. Consider the fact that a full-scale, top-fuel dragster typically reaches speeds in excess of 300-plus mph. As for their counterparts in scale drag racing? The fastest rail cars can reach scale speeds of over 3000 scale miles per hour.
And it's all done with a tiny electric motor and sixteen volts of DC current.
Materialise provides the chassis, motor, axles and wheels, none of which can be modified, in kit form for $136.75, and they're also organizing a series of races for the cars to be held at AM events worldwide throughout 2014.
If you win the i.materialise challenge, you get to race your own 3D printed slot car at one or more of these events, and at this point, the company has them scheduled to take place at RAPID 2014 and EuroMold 2014 with more locations planned for the future as the contest plays out.
Submissions will be accepted up to 23:59 Central European Time, February 16th, 2014, and there's no limit on the number of entries per contestant. To enter, just upload your design files on the challenge page and don't forget to provide a clear explanation as to what material your design requires for printing.