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The 2014 Inter-Chapter Challenge

The second Inter-Chapter Challenge (ICC) will be held at the 2014 ESW-National Conference, to be hosted at Northwestern University on April 10th-13th, 2014. Participating chapters will build an inexpensive device that will be judged based on design & construction, function, and completion of several trials. The theme for this year’s ICC is boats. Unlike the previous year, there are no restrictions on power source aside from the avoidance of fossil fuel as a requirement.

Since we will be in a Great Lakes State on a university campus surrounded by bodies of water, we felt it would make sense to have this year’s Inter-Chapter Challenge involve building a boat—even a radio controlled boat! If you are planning on participating in this year’s ICC, please email Chapter Relations Coordinator Chris Thai at or tweet us @eswusa when you register for the conference. View the full rules & information here.


Build Specifications

  • Max Dimensions: 23 cm x 35.5 cm x 56 cm
    • This is the most common max volume of carry-on luggage.
    • As such, it will also have the most common max mass limit of carry-on luggage, 18 kg. 
  • Max Budget: $300
  • Range: The vehicle should have an R/C range of at least 20 m.
  • Operating Conditions: The vehicle will be tested on a pond outside.

Power Source

  • Battery packs are allowed.
  • Alternative power sources (such as biofuels, solar power, mechanical potential energy, fusion, vacuum energy, etc.) are encouraged.
  • External wires leading connecting the boat to an external power source are not. 
  • Non-use of batteries as the primary power source will be rewarded.


  • Maximum budget of $300
  • You are required to document your expenditures by collecting all material receipts
  • Documentation need to be verified pre-race


  • Sustainability will be judged on materials, design, and end of life plans at the judges’ discretion

Course Challenges

The competition will be split into three parts: a straight line race, a slalom time trial, and a timed debris pickup.  All events will be on a small pond separate from Lake Michigan. 

Drag Race

  • All boats will race at the same time
  • The course will be about 20 m long and will not involve a turn around
  • Points will be awarded for 1st through 4th place.

Slalom Time Trial

  • All boats will run the course individually
  • The course will be about 10 m long along the edge of the lake and will start and finish in the same place
  • Points will be awarded for 1st through 4th place

Debris Pickup

  • Boats will have to collect 4 items floating on the water
  • Time ends when all 4 items are in the hands of a representative of the boat team
  • Points will be awarded for 1st through 4th place


Scoring Breakdown

  • 30 points: Design
    • 15 points: following rules
      • 5 points: Creativity
      • 5 points: Power
      • 5 points: Cost
    • 15 points: sustainability
      • 5 points: material selection
      • 5 points: design for sustainability
      • 5 points: end of life plans
  • 30 points: Competition
    • 10 Points: Drag Race
      • 1st - 10 pts
      • 2nd - 7 pts
      • 3rd - 4 pts
      • 4th - 1 pts
    • 10 Points: Slalom Time Trial
      • 1st - 10 pts
      • 2nd - 7 pts
      • 3rd - 4 pts
      • 4th - 1 pts
    • 10 Points: Debris Pickup
      • 1st - 10 pts
      • 2nd - 7 pts
      • 3rd - 4 pts
      • 4th - 1 pts