Additive manufacturing in sports: 3 innovations (II)

Autor: David Rodríguez
8 May 2023


Redesign of Callaway’s Odyssey R-Ball putter. Image via GE

Callaway Golf sought to tailor its clubs to the different tastes of golf fans in each region as part of its innovation strategy. With the help of GE Addworks, GE’s product development consultancy, they redesigned the Odyssey R-Ball prototype putter.

In this particular case of customisation, the aim was to maintain the original design and functionality but to obtain different acoustics, as the club emitted a specific sound when hit for the Japanese market. The challenge involved a topological optimisation that would satisfy the proposed acoustic mapping and the management of the manufacturing of the part (supports, tensions, material, etc). [1]

The result: through additive manufacturing, they have managed not only to produce a design that is impossible with other methods, but also to take the first steps in a technology that opens up a world of possibilities.


Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, table tennis and tennis. To reinvent the way it is played, the manufacturer Wilson has teamed up with Azul 3D to design two new models using 3D printing. One, the Custom Core Paddle, fully customisable to the player’s needs, and the other, the Quiet Paddle, designed to reduce the sound of hitting the ball. [2]

Printed Pickleball rackets. Via Azul 3D’s press release

Additive manufacturing is at the heart of the innovation, in particular the HARP (High Area Rapid Printing) technology developed by Azul 3D. This technology is based on the photopolymerisation of resin, an exothermic process. HARP technology involves cooling a surface between the layer of part being made and the resin tank to enable rapid continuous printing. [3]

HARP technology. Via Azul 3D [4]

Ice skating

The Chinese national speed skating team, which won the gold medal at the last Winter Olympics in Beijing, participated with blades printed on the Farsoon FS421M Metal System in AlMgSc material.

Design iteration process: lightweight skate blades and topology optimisation.
Image via Farsoon Technologies

The improvement needs raised by the sports team were answered by additive manufacturing for weight reduction, flexibility of movement and better grip on the ice. [5] [6]

“With continued innovative development, 3D printing technology can provide customised and personalised solutions for athletes, while shortening the supply chain in the manufacturing process and reducing costs. As 3D printing technology continues to advance and develop, it will dramatically change the landscape and demands of sporting goods manufacturing”.

Farsoon Technologies

This is not the first time the Chinese team and manufacturer have teamed up to use 3D printing technology. At the 2018 Winter Olympics, Chinese athlete Dajing Wu won gold in the men’s 500m short track speed skating event. The Chinese speed skating team was fully equipped with customised Ti6Al4V metal glove tips supplied by Farsoon Technologies. [7]


[1] Press release GE Additive

[2] Press release of Azul3D and Wilson partnership

[3] D. Walker, JL. Hedrick, C. Mirkin . “Rapid, large-volume, thermally controlled 3D printing using a mobile liquid interface”. Science. ; 366(6463):360-364. Oct 2019

[4] HARP technology of Azul3D

[5] Farsoon press release (Twitter)

[6] Farsoon press release and case study (Linkedin) (Winter Olympics 2022)

[7] Farsoon press release (Winter Olympics 2018)

David Rodríguez

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

You may be interested in




Submit a Comment

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

Copyright © 2023

Web design: Presentia