Putting Design Skills to the Test at the PLM World Top Gun Competition

By Amy Reyes

 plm world.jpgStakes were high and competition was fierce but friendly at the 2017 Top Gun Competition that takes place annually at the PLM World Regional Users Group (RUG) in Detroit, Michigan. It’s a fun opportunity for both students and professionals to put their design skills to the test. Each year, contestants have one hour to model an object. It’s winner takes all – whoever is deemed to have the best model that meets the design criteria laid out by the judges (in this case, me and a rep from PLM World Smiley Happy) gets to keep the item as a prize. This year’s grand prize, the item which contestants had to successfully model within the 60 minute time limit, was a Vizo RTF FPV Camera Drone.

You could hear a pin drop in the room as all 6 contestants worked feverishly to complete their models in NX, only pausing to come to the front of the room for a better look at the details and intricacies of the drone they had to model.drone.jpg

As far as what requirements the contestants had to meet, the following design criteria were taken into consideration in judging who would be the winner:

  • Use of best practices in NX

  • Demonstration of good modeling techniques

  • Use of color

  • Use of decals or logos

  • Creation of an assembly with parts

  • Bonus: Kinematics or motion of some sort

…and, of course, the finished model had to actually look like the drone.

It’s truly exciting to witness the modeling process in action and to see the different design approaches that individuals take. No one person designs exactly the same in NX, even when using the same best practices and design methodologies. While all of the models were done well, only one could reign supreme as the ultimate winner in each category: student and professional.

The winner in the student category was high school student Henry Jason. While Henry did not complete the entire model, the techniques he used and quality he was able to achieve was especially impressive.

student drone.pngDrone modeled by Top Gun Competition Student Winner, Henry Jason

 In the pro category, Kevin Line won for his complete and accurate representation of the drone and due to his use of color. He is a returning champion, as he won a previous year’s competition when the object was a Lego truck. Each were pleased to have been selected.

pro drone.jpgDrone modeled by the Top Gun Professional Winner, Kevin Line

 To attend a local users group near you, check out the full list on the PLM World events page!

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at