3D Printing in Sport - Overcoming Limitations & Enhancing Performance.
Developing applications for 3D printing in sport is a fascinating and exciting journey that we are currently embracing. This was no more apparent than with the passing of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, where Scott Crowley used a pair of 3D printed gloves in the wheel chair segment of the paratriathlon event. The customization capabilities of 3D printing in sport make this an attractive form of manufacturing, one which allows athletes from a variety of sports to solve problems and challenges they face.
From giving people the opportunity to part take to advancing elite athletes in their field, 3D printing is having a fascinating impact on many of the sports we love. The ability to develop highly customized structures that are strong, light weight and flexible has been a huge motivation for athletes to engage with 3D technology. Recently, rugby player Dan Biggar and welsh fly-half, finally destroyed his kicking T which has been with him throughout his youth and professional career (15 years!). Instead of using the Tee I designed a few months previously in TinkerCAD, Biggar teamed up with Cardiff University to 3D scan his old one to create an exact replica. An interesting story which also highlights the exact replication properties which 3D printing makes achievable.
3D Printing Sports Equipment
3D printing has developed and improved the protective equipment available to athletes in a wide range of sports. Cascade, a leading helmets producer in Lacrosse have implemented 3D printing into their prototyping capabilities. With brain injuries in sports and the long terms implications of multiple concussions being a hot topic of discussion, it will be interesting to see what 3D Printing can do to further address this issue.
As we have seen the cost of 3D printers fall, they have become more accessible to a greater number of people. This has led to involvement growth and innovations within the field. One particular area important to 3D Printed sports equipment is how 3D materials have developed. At 3D Print Works we manufacture filaments like PLA and ABS which are more focused on prototyping, however material design has evolved in recent years, meaning components are stronger, more durable and light weight. This is important because sports take place in variety of extreme weather conditions and are exposed to large amount of stress and collisions. This means materials have to have the properties to withstand these conditions. Scanning capabilities also allow body parts to be scanned to aid injury prevention through customized protective equipment.
All in all the future is bright for 3D printing and sports, as it breaks down existing limitations and enhances performance. We at 3D Print works are excited to see what the future holds!