• Cypress Bay High School - Weston, FL
  • June 3, 2020


On Nov. 15 a 3D printing competition began, giving freshmen Zachary Rubin a chance to express his creativity. Rubin entered the competition with a grand prize of a $1,500 trip to Shenzhen, China. This competition required competitors to send in an entry consisting of the making of their object made of filament, and putting the object to practical use. Winners received a fully paid for visit to the Anet 3D printing factory, $600 worth of printers and $200 worth of filament. Although the competition ended on Jan.5, Rubin still prints for the sake of creating and learning more every day. He said he found the competition to be rewarding.

“I thought it would be an interesting thing to participate in and I have a good enough chance of getting some correlative prize like a 3D printer or a 3D printing certificate or even a trip to Shenzhen, China, the tech capital of the world,” Rubin said. “The incentive involved in this competition is exciting and I didn’t let it end there; I started modeling new projects for myself even after the competition ended.”

Rubin said his entry was aimed to appease the Chinese audience. He posted his entry on YouTube where the judges will view the making of his creation. Guidelines were not strict and instead called for something engaging and creative. Rubin took advantage of this and made something familiar to all individuals while adding a creative touch to his video.

“I made a Darth Vader pencil holder and recorded a video entry of the process to make the item. I also made it appealing to the judges in China by making the 3D printer sing a song that they would find familiar,” Rubin said. “I coded the printer to sing the ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars episode 5 which is my personal favorite.”

Rubin said entering this competition was only possible following the tremendous work he put into making his submission video. The special elements included in the video required creativity and skill.

“Creating the objects necessary for my entry and making things to appeal to the Chinese audience took minimal time in my eyes, but it actually took a really long time,” Rubin said. “It took most of winter break and I found myself enjoying the free time from break to work on it.”

Rubin said he has ambitions of joining the new race in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field. He believes this 3D printing competition is just a stepping stone to the path of breaking into this popularizing realm.

“I am interested in pursuing the STEM field which is why I wanted to join this 3D printing competition; I’m still waiting on results and during that time I’m going to keep creating,” Rubin said. “It is a growing field and participating in this competition and doing projects [outside of the competition] might benefit me one day if I make it into the STEM field.”

Junior Garrett Bishop has experience in computer programming and recognizes Rubin’s originality when 3D printing. He said he believes he would do well in the STEM field if he chose to pursue it.

“My grandfather taught me how to program when I was younger so I know the ropes of it which is why I can clearly see what Zach envisions and the fact that he has true talent if he wanted to pursue the field of STEM,” Bishop said. “He’s really creative and it isn’t the standard plastic bracelet; he prints practical but engaging things.”

After the competition ended, Rubin has been quick to model more items to print simply driven by interest. Bishop said he has seen his different projects and has also become subject to his newest work.

“A few weeks ago, he modeled Darth Vader’s helmet and now he’s trying to model my head,” Bishop said. “My last name is Bishop and he plays chess and it has a piece which is a bishop and he’s replacing the piece of the board with a miniature head of mine instead. What he does is cool and I wish it was something I could get into.”

Debate teacher Nick Montecalvo said Rubin has great potential and believes his projects are captivating.

“I’ve seen him take hundreds of photos of classmates and somehow transforms them into a 3D model on his computer,” Montecalvo said. “He’s a fun character and I’m excited to see how his project turns out. I think he has a knack for this art.”

However, Rubin received an email that there is still more judging to be done as there were more entries than expected. Winners were supposed to be announced on Jan. 21. This news leaves Rubin in high anticipation for the results; however, he remains confident.

“I’m anxious to see if I did well and made my impression. I saw some entries and I think I have a good chance because from what I know there aren’t many people that entered in the first place,” Rubin said. “Whatever it is, I like 3D printing and STEM related activities and I hope this is something that will help me moving forward.”

Montecalvo said that Rubin has the talent it takes to win as he’s seen him model his friend’s head which he found quite ingenious.

“Zachary is currently modeling the bust of his friend’s head, Mr. Bishop. He picked up this new project quickly and he has spontaneous ideas,” Montecalvo said. “I think Mr. Rubin has a pretty good chance of winning as what he does is unique.”