Model Mania – Modeling Contest for Engineers

See what all the fuss is about with Model Mania at 3DEXPERIENCE World and get some tips and tricks for how you could win it.

Each year at 3DEXPERIENCE World, they hold a modeling contest for engineers, Model Mania. To most of the world, this has a far different meaning than what actually happens. It is only in our small world of engineers where we hear that and instantly assume that it is solid modeling in a CAD tool. That is exactly what it is. It is a timed contest where you’re provided with a drawing, model that part in SOLIDWORKS, and then are handed a changed print and have to make those changes to the model. I find it very challenging and extremely enjoyable to compete.

Model Mania

Model Mania

Initial Modeling

Initial Picture

I’ll walk you through how the contest runs with some tips that I use when sitting down to model the part. We were given the following print and 3D Printed model to examine and then create. I recommend taking a minute or two before hitting start to examine the print and take some time to formulate a plan. I keep these three guidelines for modeling in mind when formulating how I’m going to model the part:

  1. Add all your material first. Start with all your boss/base features and place them all first.
  2. Remove all your material second. This would be all your cuts or holes.
  3. Add cosmetic fillets and rounds last. I always save my fillets and rounds until the end of the feature tree.

For this year’s print, I wanted to keep two things in mind: symmetry and simplicity. The part looked very symmetric, so I used center rectangles and circles centered on the origin and midplane extrusions where possible. I also determined that the part could be completed with simple extrusions, cuts and fillets. When modeling for Model Mania, make sure to read all the dimensions, verify their attachment points, and read all notes, and accuracy counts. Finally, make sure to add the correct material to the part. Once it is modeled, make sure you know where Mass Properties is found, as Mass is the quantity that you need to enter to continue.

Model Mania

Design Change

Changed Picture

At this point, you’re given a second print with some design changes. Even though the clock is running, take a few seconds here to examine the print and formulate a plan on how to change the part. This is typically the most difficult part of the challenge. The two big changes this year were increasing the size of the cylinder and making it the back of the part and adding draft. I added draft in three different ways: draft while extruding, neutral plane draft, and parting line draft. Again make sure to look over the print, as accuracy still counts. I double-check all the dimensions, verify the material didn’t change, and take my mass properties.


The award results are announced in the 3DEXPERIENCE Playground on the last day of 3DEXPERIENCE World. They break the contest up into two groups: one for resellers and one for customers. This year I was lucky enough to win the reseller contest with a fairly slow time of over 16 minutes. It isn’t necessarily the fastest who wins, but the fastest most accurate model. In past years I’ve messed up a fillet, or forgotten to add a material, which will ruin accuracy pretty quickly. The customer group was much more competitive. The winning time was under 8 minutes.

Model Mania Winners

SOLIDWORKS has a blog with all past model mania parts, 24 Years of Model Mania. This is an opportunity to try your skills on models and changes from previous years. These also make good team-building events with your internal engineering team. Take twenty minutes out of your day and create an internal contest with one of these models. It will build everyone’s confidence with SOLIDWORKS with a fun competitive contest.