CI Award 

The Cool Idea! Award helps early-stage companies and entrepreneurs bring innovate products to market through service grants that support product development. Providing an aggregate of up to $250,000 in 3D Printing, CNC Machining, Sheet Metal Fabrication* and Injection Molding services each year! 


Read through the guidelines for additional requirements, and if you’re ready to take your product to the next level, we’d love to see what you’re working on. 

General guidelines for the submission process:

  • Products should have an established business plan
  • A 3D CAD model(s) must accompany Round 2 application form. CAD Files will not be requested in Round 1 submission.
  • If you are granted an award, Protolabs will actively promote your project in print, press releases, case studies, etc.
  • Cool Idea! Award recipients have 90 days to exhaust their award.
  • If your project is related to a government contract or grant, it is ineligible for an award.
  • Protolabs employees and families are ineligible for an award.

Application Accepting Periods

Applicants will only be notified within the 'acceptance' period if they have advanced into as a Finialist.

  • January 1 - February 28 - CLOSED FOR REVIEW
  • April 1 - May 31 - OPENS - Monday, March 4th
  • July 1 - August 31
  • October 1 - November 30

*Sheet Metal Fabrication services are available only to those based in the US. 


CI Logo 


Application submission period is now closed and will be reopening Monday, March 4th for Period 2.

How to Apply:

 The application process is easy: 

  • Fill out the initial application - it's only a few questions. 
  • Judges will select finalist based on the initial application
  • Finalist will submit product details, including their Protolabs quotes using their 3D CAD model of their part(s)
  • Juges will review the finalists and select a winner(s). 

If selected for a Cool Idea! Award, you must use the services within 90 days and should be at a stage in your project that allows you to begin executing immediately.



Application Accepting Periods

Applicants will only be notified within the 'acceptance' period if they have advanced into as a Finialist.

  1. January 1 - February 28 - CLOSED for review
  2. April 1 - May 31 - opens March 4
  3. July 1 - August 31
  4. October 1 - November 30


Judging Application Periods

Finalist(s) chosen as a winner(s) will be notified at the end of the judging month.

  • March
  • June
  • September
  • December



Protolabs