Tran Nguyen, Winner of the February Design Challenge Series

Tran in the entrepreneurship grarage

This article was written by Jaclyn McVey, a senior in Poole College of Management who works in the NC State Entrepreneurship Program.

Tran Nguyen took home the win for this month-long competition where students develop solutions to real world problems at the Garage.

The Design Challenge Series is a team based event where participants will take on exciting design prompts to design and develop creative solutions. New challenges are released every month for students to complete. At the end of the month, a group of judges determines which design will take home the prize — NC State Entrepreneurship swag and recognition on the website.

Meet the Winner

After being a Garage member for only three months, Tran Nguyen, a senior studying Chemical Engineering at the College of Engineering, got heavily involved with all the programs at NC State Entrepreneurship. As an engineer, she has always felt as though every simple tool could be engineered in a better way to improve performance and environmental impacts. When she learned about the Design Challenge Series, she was excited at the combination of competition and real world problem-solving.

Tran said, “I did not know how to approach this prompt until the day before the deadline. The idea came to me while I was stamping soaps for my business, Bon Sop. I drew a sketch of my idea that day and got help from my partner on this project, Tony Tran, a recent NC State Aerospace Engineering alumnus to bring the idea to life.” This is how Clamp-on Stamp, the next generation stamp, was created.

Tran and Tony designed the Clamp-on Stamp to allow people to 3D print any designs they want for multiple purposes like labeling or creating unique artwork. The stamp consists of two parts. The top part which is the clamp and the bottom, interchangeable part is the stamp head. They applied the 3Rs — reduce, reuse and recycle — throughout their design. The main purpose of their design is to reduce the bulk of the material and excess waste that is used in stamp making when the only part of the stamp that needs to be changed is the stamp head. Both parts of the Clamp-on Stamp can be designed and printed using a 3D printer in a short amount of time. This also reduces the time commitment for craftsmanship and electrical power usage. Additionally, both parts are made of PLA filament which is a compostable material.

After her win, Tran reflected on why her experience working on this Design Challenge Series project was influential. She said, “I would like to encourage everyone to accept challenges. When facing challenges, you do not have to know everything in order to get started. Simply take it one step at a time and ask for help. Being challenged is exciting because it is a learning journey where you will adopt a lot of great skills and get to know many amazing people along the way.”

Since recently becoming a Garage member, Tran has been involved with many of the workshops and events like Ideation Seminar, Pro-Series, Mentorship Meetups and more. She says her favorite part of the Garage is the endless possibilities in making anything you could think of. She has used the equipment recently for Clamp-on Stamp and other necessities for her business. Tran also highlighted the supportive environment of NC State Entrepreneurship and said, “none of my projects would be completed without the help of all the people there.”