Bring Your Designs to Life with the ‘littleBits Bring Your 3D Prints to Life Contest’

*Update: The contest is closed for now, we’ll be relaunching later in the year, stay tuned for a bigger and better contest!*

Shapeways has teamed up with littleBits to challenge you to make your designs move with the ‘littleBits Bring Your 3D Prints to Life Contest’, we want to see what you will make when you can add modular electronics to your 3D prints.


3D printing is great for making unique items to exactly meet your needs, but what better way to take your ideas one step further and add motion, light, sound, or even programming with littleBits modular electronics.  littleBits create powerful but easy-to-use electronic components that snap together with magnets, so there is no need for soldering, wiring or programming (unless you want to). That means you can prototype with electronics and don’t need an engineering degree to do so.

The Challenge:

Make a design that combines 3D printed Nylon and littleBits to make a 3D printed creation that comes to life using the littleBits. We chose Shapeways Nylon because you can make complex, interlocking parts in a single print, incorporate a living hinge, all with the precision to make compress fit, or threaded connectors.

Add littleBits to your 3D prints and control them using a mechanical input, like a button, or use a sensor to control with just a gesture or sound. We challenge you to use the following littleBits modules but you can incorporate any littleBits modules that you like.

To get you started, the littleBits team has released the STL and STEP files of these base components for you to download and import them into your 3D modeling software of choice and modify you design to fit these components. Download littleBits 3D files here.

Take a look at the littleBits project gallery for inspiration, where you can see everything from a Remote Control Car to a Flying Dragon or a Keytar with 3d printed knobs. Also find custom 3d-printed accessories designed for mounting littleBits in projects.



The Remote Control Facetime Car made with 3D printed components.


The Keytar uses 3D printed knobs to make the sounds more ergonomic and awesome.


Run Horse Run uses your voice to make the horses, run.

The Submission

  • Upload your design that incorporates at least two (2) Little Bits modules to Shapeways with the tag LittleBits
  • Your design must be printable in Shapeways Nylon Selective Laser Sintering (WSF) with a maximum material volume of 300cm3.
  • Your submission can include one or multiple parts, (please indicate that an upload is “1 of 3″ or similar so that we can better understand your design.
  • Include a description of your design, the function and proposed movement.
  • BONUS POINTS: For a rendered animation or video of the design in action

The Prize

  • littleBits Pro Library (over $4,900 value)
  • 3D Printing Credit at Shapeways to the value of $500
  • The top 3 designs will have their design 3D printed by Shapeways


Contest Criteria

  • Design must include at least two littleBits modules
  • Design must meet Shapeways 3D printing criteria for Selective Laser Sintering of Nylon.
  • Total volume must be under 300 cm3
  • Model must be uploaded to Shapeways by Monday 29th of September 2014 by Midnight PST
  • Design must be public with the tag littleBits
  • Design must be original and you own all IP


Terms and Conditions

  • No purchase necessary.
  • Maximum of five entries per person. By entering this competition, entrants will be deemed to have accepted and agreed to the conditions.
  • No cash or other alternative prizes available. The prize draw is not open to Shapeways or Little Bits employees or their families.
  • The promoters decision is final – in case of dispute, no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Winning entries will be documented by Shapeways and littleBits and may be used for promotional purposes.
  • Winners project must be uploaded to littleBits Project gallery.
  • Winners retain all IP as per Shapeways standard terms and conditions. Winners and winning entries may be required to take part in any publicity resulting from this competition.
  • The winner will be contacted by Monday 6th of October, 2014
  • Promoter: Shapeways, 419 Park Avenue South, #900, New York, NY, USA, 10016.


If you have any questions please ask them in the comments section below.

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  1. M

    Great contest, this is going to be fun :)

    1. Duann Post author

      Awesome, they are kinda addictive once you start playing with them.

  2. Thomas Haldenby

    Are we allowed to use different modules instead of the 7 indicated? Like a light sensor and if so is there some where we can get an STL model for them?

    1. Duann Post author

      Sure thing Thomas, you can use any lIttleBit you like, we just started with seven of the most popular to get you started.

      Good luck!


    I’m new to 3D software…is there a “Dummies for 3D” program or book I can get? Thanks Denise

    1. Lauren

      We’ve got lots of different resources in our tutorials section:
      You can do amazing things with free programs like SketchUp and Tinkercad and 123D Design. Hit up our discussion forums for help too.

  4. Erik Arvedson

    Fun! Is it open to contestants globally or just the US? I live in Sweden.

  5. shariff

    so how does this work exactly?

    do we buy the littlebit parts and then 3d print our own object to go with that part or is it just a computer rendered idea that we are supposed to be uploading it’s not clear to me please help?

    1. shariff

      never mind i just realized what u need to do

  6. Milind

    Is it open to contestants globally or just the US? I live in India.

    1. Duann

      Sure you can. We ship everywhere

  7. James

    I want to enter, but need more time!

  8. Dan

    I love to enter, but need time to prototype my entry on my form lab 3D printer. Can you please extend so we can make best entry?

  9. suresh

    Same, I want the Pro Library, but need more time to finish the project!

  10. Natalia

    Thank you for your submissions! Due to the low number of entries we have decided to close the competition and to relaunch it later this year. All entrants have been notified and recompensed for your time. Thank you so much, and stay tuned for later this year!

Comments are closed.