3D printing has been taking a prominent place in sport for some time. In an area where sometimes thousandths of a second and minimal differences are important, support is still being sought in technology, which can often affect the final result.
And although in sport we still value the talent, work and determination of players the most, it is no secret that not only a team of people is behind their success, but also the use of modern technologies, such as 3D.
3D printing in sports and materials
Currently, 3D printing uses a huge amount of different types of materials with different (desired in a given sport or in a given case) properties. These materials, called filaments, can withstand pressure, stress and impact. The use of 3D printing in the production of short, limited series is not a problem here, while producing them using traditional methods would be unprofitable.
The use of 3D printing in sport
3D printing in sport is widely used. It is used for the production of individual elements of sports equipment, as well as for the creation of personalized sports shoes. What’s more, 3D printing can also be used in the production of elements to increase the effectiveness of training.
Let’s take a closer look at it.
3D printing in sport and equipment
3D printing in sport is used both to create entire sports equipment and its elements, for example:
- Components for paragliders and bicycles,
- Football shin guards,
- Football helmets,
- Handles in pneumatic guns,
- Bicycle tires.
See how to use industrial 3D printers by checking the possibilities offered by 3D printing on request.
3D airless bicycle tires
K-AMUG, a South Korean association, has presented a prototype of lightweight, airless bicycle tires made using a 3D printer. This product has a good chance of being used by professionals. The production method developed by K-AMUG allows the tire weight (1.89 kg) to be reduced by as much as 17% compared to the standard tire (2.27 kg).
As the designers assure, such tires will allow for better results in sports than in the case of conventional solutions. Let us add that the airless tire is made of flexible TPU, and its filling is a truss, which maintains the appropriate strength and elasticity of the tire. Its dimensions are 700 mm in diameter on the outside, 622 mm in diameter inside the circle and 20 mm in width.
3D printing in sport – footwear
An interesting application of 3D printing in sport was presented, among others, by Luc Fusaro, who in his diploma thesis, defended at the Royal College of Art in London, presented shoes for sportsmen made in 3D technology. They are created for a specific person. They consist of one part and are perfectly matched to the foot. According to the designer, such shoes are to improve the runner’s efficiency by as much as 3.5%. The 3D sports shoes are made of nylon (polyamide powder) and are very light. One shoe weighs only 96 g.
3D printing in sport and training
3D technology is currently used, among others, for the production of accessories that help improve the technique of playing tennis.
Here they are:
- Double net, a net that is placed above the standard table net. It helps athletes to improve precision in bouncing the ball.
- Ping phone, the element that keeps the player’s smartphone while filming his game, which allows you to analyze his technique in the next step.
- The whip tester, a device used to control the adhesion of the lining on both sides of the racket (let us add here that the regulations of the International Table Tennis Federation precisely define the requirements for the smoothness of the surface of these linings, and the whip tester is equipment that has been recognized as the official tool for assessing athlete rackets) .
See also how 3D printing helped create a better spinning bike.
3D printing in the sport of people with disabilities
3D printing turns out to be irreplaceable also in the sport of people with disabilities, where the individual adjustment of the equipment sometimes plays a key role. The best example of the use of this technology is the case of the triathlonist Florian Jouanna, an almost completely paralyzed athlete who graduated from the extreme Ironman competition.