Additive manufacturing in sports: 3 innovations (I)

Autor: David Rodríguez
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3 January 2022
Ejemplo de fabricación aditiva en el deporte

One of the advantages most often mentioned when we talk about developing products and solutions using additive manufacturing is customisation. The fact that we can manufacture very short or even one-off series at an affordable cost allows us to make customised parts for a user.

The field of sport is particularly likely to benefit from this possibility offered by technology. Here are three examples of product design using 3D printing to meet individual needs.

Cycling

Among all the proposals currently available, not only for bicycles but also for components, one of the most interesting to me is that of Kinazo, a Bratislava-based design and product development studio.

The Slovakian brand has teamed up with Volkswagen to create its E-1, an electric enduro bike. The original prototype frame, welded in 11 different parts, was made in one piece in aluminium on the Concept Laser X Line 2000R (800 x 400 x 500 mm) that the German car manufacturer has in Slovakia. [1]

The teams of Kinazo and Volkswagen with the single-part printed frame. Via Kinazo

Without having a particularly striking design, it achieves its objective: to offer a functional and customisable solution in terms of size, shape or design to not only fit the athlete’s physique but also their activity, being able to reinforce certain areas that are considered critical.

Image via Kinazo

Climbing

To move, a climber relies on his hands and feet. He needs his hands free to optimise his grip, so the only equipment he wears are the climbing shoes. These, to get the best grip, must be very close to the foot and are normally bought one or several sizes below the usual size.

Why not make custom-made climbing shoes? Under this premise, students from the ELISAVA design university have conceived Athos with the support of the Leitat technology centre in Barcelona and its I AM 3DHUB initiative. The idea is based on making the design of the body of the shoe to measure on the scanning of the user’s foot to print it (HP, TPU material) and then add the bottom vulcanised and textiles manually. [2]

Athos climbing shoe components. Via Athos

Their proposal to make climbing healthier, improving comfort and reducing the chances of injury and injury, has been a finalist in the Purmundus Challenge or James Dyson awards. With the prototype ready, it is expected to make its first sales in 2022.

Skiing

Smith Optics, a company dedicated to the design and manufacture of protective eyewear for winter sports, has introduced additive manufacturing as one of its tools to offer new products. In this case, its I/O MAG Imprint 3D model enables each user to have goggles fully adapted to their facial contours.

“No more light leaks, air gaps or hot spots, the widest possible field of vision, and an all-day comfort so buttery your goggles are barely there.”


Smith Optics
Exploded view of the I/O MAG Imprint3D model: in the centre, the frame made by MJF. Via Smith Optics

The process is similar to that of Athos, as it is the wearer who has to be scanned for the American company to manufacture the customised frame in MJF technology. The rest of the elements are standard, adaptable to each unique model. [5]

REFERENCES

[1] Kinazo

[2] ATHOS

[3] Purmundus Challenge

[4] James Dyson Award

[5] Smith Optics

David Rodríguez

3D Printing professional. Mining & Energy Engineer B.Sc. Industrial Engineer M.Sc. Believe to make.

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