3D Printing Triumphs in Elon Musk’s Not-A-Boring Competition 2024

Published on April 17, 2024 by Isaac B.

The 2024 Not-a-Boring Competition’s third edition, held in Bastrop, Texas, served as a global gathering of teams aiming to revolutionize tunneling. This dynamic event, blending innovation and speed, attracted 130 participants from five countries, forming eight teams. Among them were notable entrants like the first South Asian team from Bangladesh and the CU Engineering student club. However, it was Swissloop Tunneling that stole the spotlight. Armed with their groundbreaking micro tunnel boring machine, the Groundhog Beta, complete with integrated 3D printing capabilities, Swissloop Tunneling captured the attention of the judges and clinched the prestigious Champion Award. Yet, their triumph wasn’t a stroke of luck. Swissloop Tunneling, a student association comprising members from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich and other Swiss universities, has long been dedicated to pioneering solutions in the tunnel construction sector.

Founded by Elon Musk and his company ‘The Boring Company,’ the competition aims to propel the development of a tunnel boring machine that outpaces traditional augers. Currently, these machines operate only about ten times faster than augers. Musk’s ambitious vision? To realize high-speed underground transportation. At the heart of this year’s winning innovation lies Groundhog Beta, an evolution of its predecessor, Groundhog Alpha. Named after the industrious tunnel-digging animal, the marmot, Groundhog Alpha made its debut in 2021, immediately turning heads.


Photo Credits: Teslarati

Featuring a unique control mechanism and an advanced tunnel lining system, Groundhog Alpha made headlines by 3D printing the tunnel’s inner wall during excavation. Participation in the Not-a-Boring Competition marked the culmination of Swissloop Tunneling’s arduous journey of relentless improvement. Since their selection as one of the twelve finalist teams from a pool of over 400 applicants in 2021, Swissloop Tunneling has been tirelessly refining their technology. Groundhog Beta retains all the strengths of the Alpha model but boasts significant enhancements in navigation and movement mechanisms.

Not-A-Boring-Competition for a More Efficient Tunnel Construction Industry

The tunnel construction industry grapples with daunting challenges, including steep costs and intricate logistics. Conventional tunnel boring machines, cumbersome and requiring transport over hundreds of kilometers, exacerbate these issues. Swissloop Tunneling emerges as a solution provider, enabling innovative approaches to enhance the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of tunnel construction. Groundhog Beta introduces a novel liner mechanism and erosion system, optimizing efficiency. Utilizing a specially formulated polymer granulate, the liner is extruded directly during drilling, bolstering both resource conservation and tunnel structural integrity. Through strategic partnerships with industry leaders, Swissloop Tunneling propels project advancement. Access to financial and technical support empowers the team to materialize their vision for an improved tunneling industry.

The competition winners – the Swissloop Tunneling team. (Photo Credits: AJOT)

The Not-a-Boring Competition 2024 marks a milestone in Swissloop Tunneling’s history. The team’s victory with Groundhog Beta is not only a triumph for the team but also a step towards a sustainable and efficient tunnel construction industry. To learn more about this project, click here.

What do you think of the Not-a-Boring-Competition 2024? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here for the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

*Cover Photo Credits: The Boring Company (X)


Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Updated
Every wednesday, receive a recap of the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox.