In August 2013, a new awards ceremony took the stage and with it, naturally, a new award. Filling the void of traditional recognition for stage and screen performances, the Geekie Awards ceremony was established to pay tribute to the minds and talents that don’t fit the mold of the “mainstream.” Covering everything from arts and crafts to comic books and product design, the Geekie Awards were conceptualized to celebrate all things “geek.” And the award? A crisp cyan ray gun designed by SoulCake Creative and made real through 3D Systems’
Quickparts® on-demand cloud printing services.

After creating multiple bid ideas for the Geekie Oscar-equivalent, SoulCake, a California-based creative agency, was hired to create the show’s award. According to SoulCake’s co-founder and designer, Dane Storrusten, SoulCake wanted to create a unique and interactive award that truly captured the geek spirit. The agency had approximately two months to complete the project and needed a production solution that would deliver their design on time, in high quality and low quantity. Familiar with 3D printing and rapid prototyping through the technology’s frequent behind-the-scenes contributions to manufacturing, SoulCake decided to employ this solution for their final product. Without production methods of their own, SoulCake turned to 3D Systems’ Quickparts® on-demand cloud printing services to produce the award.

Primary among SoulCake’s concerns was the desire to create a visually appealing and well-constructed award while remaining within their allotted budget. They also had a tight and inflexible timeline, fixed in place by the approaching awards show. According to Storrusten, “3D Systems was the only vendor that stepped up and said
‘Yeah, we can do it,’ and was able to promise delivery within our timeframe.”

SoulCake designed a life-size ray gun that was streamlined to avoid unnecessary bulk and which promoted interactivity through a magnetized base, making it both an award and a prop. Quickparts worked closely with SoulCake to help them adapt their design for production and a perfected final product. Quickparts made the award using a cast urethane process with a 3D printed master pattern that was used to create a mold with RTV (room temperature vulcanizing) silicone. The award was then cast in a high-strength ABS-like material infused with pure, bright cyan coloring and painted with the fresh white Geekie lettering. The final awards were gloss-finished and delivered to SoulCake for presentation at the show.

“When we got the award back, we were totally blown away,” Storrusten said. “We were enamored by its quality. The finish was exceptional and perfectly captured our vision for a classic, iconic piece, and the magnetic base worked like a charm. The turnaround for such a high-caliber product was incredible.” For Quickparts’ Geekie project consultant Doug Girard, the experience working with SoulCake had its own rewards. “It was wild to see the final product literally take the spotlight and to be able to follow it on Instagram and Twitter. It was pretty surreal.” Award winners were likewise enthused. As the category winners for “Geek Cred,” the Mars Curiosity Rover team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab now proudly display their award in their workspace. Stan Lee, the creator of Marvel Comics and Lifetime Achievement Geekie Award winner, has even requested a second ray gun for his office. “It was a fantastic experience working with Quickparts to deliver this award,” said Storrusten. “We couldn’t be more pleased with its reception.”