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.
  • Ideas/Products are only allowed to submitted once. Re-submissions of ideas/products will not be considered. 

Application Accepting Periods

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

  • January 1 - February 28 - Now accepting applications
  • April 1 - May 31
  • July 1 - August 31
  • October 1 - November 30

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

For more information about the award:



  Applying for a Cool Idea Award is pretty painless. Just tell us a bit  about yourself and your innovative product idea. You can apply 1 time each entry period, and winners are chosen by a team of Protolabs employees. If selected for a Cool Idea Award, you must  use the manufacturing services within 90 days and should be at a stage in your project that allows you to begin executing immediately.
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 to be advanced into Round 2.
  • Finalist will submit additional product details, including their Protolabs quotes* using their 3D CAD model of their part(s)
  • Judges will review the finalists and select a winner(s). 




Current Application Period:

 July 1 - November 30

You will be notified near the end of the year if your application has been selected as a finalist, at which point we will ask for additional info and your Protolabs quote(s).