The world of sport is increasingly embracing 3D printing, with everything from golf to cycling, football to athletics using the technology to improve performance. Here at Ogle, we’ve been involved in a number of sporting projects in recent years, so we thought it would be good to take a closer look at the use of 3D printing in sports.
We wrote about the story of Denise Schindler a couple of years ago; an inspirational one-legged German rider who competed in the 2016 Paralympics using a 3D printed prosthesis. Schindler, who lost her leg in a car crash when she was just was two, used a polycarbonate 3D printed leg at the Games in Rio two years ago. Read our story about Schindler.
Motor racing is a sport we’ve been involved with for a number of years, most recently with a group of Coventry University students competing in the Formula Student Racing competition. We were brought on board to SLS print the intake runners of the car. As racing teams continue to search for ways to reduce weight while maintaining optimum performance, 3D printing has an increasingly important part to play in Formula One and although we can’t say which teams we support, we are in the middle of this trend. You can read more about our latest motor racing project here.
Being able to keep players worth millions of pounds off the side-lines and on the pitch is always something football clubs are desperate to do, and 3D printing is making that possible. Using 3D scanning software, face protection masks are able to be custom made for players who have broken their nose or cheekbone. The technology is also being used to make shin pads that provide more protection to a player while weighing less than traditional models.
We’ve seen a number of stories in recent years of sports companies using 3D printing to create running shoes, and in 2016 we saw someone use running shoes at an Olympic Games. American sprinter Allyson Felix became the first athlete to compete at the Olympics wearing 3D printed shoes after partnering with Nike – and it’s fair to say it worked. The American left the Rio Games with two more gold medals to her collection after helping her country win the 4 x 100m and the 4 x 400m relay races.