A revolutionary racket handle is set to grip the tennis world thanks to innovative 3D printing technology and the expertise of a Hertfordshire model maker.
Ogle Models was tasked with producing a fully customisable, weight-balanced handle enabling tennis enthusiasts to enjoy the benefits of a fully bespoke racket to take their game to the next level.
Racket painting, stringing and customising specialist Unstrung Customs wanted a new and innovative method – away from the traditional moulding – to adapt the grip size of the racket. The aim was to speed up the supply process and deliver a precision grip for the user.
Working with Andrew Kelly of Skywide Design, Ogle focused on durability and accuracy throughout the development of the handles.
Francisco Ruiz, Managing Partner at Unstrung Customs, said:
“It’s clear that Ogle and Skywide have an established relationship as we were able to reach decisions and break through barriers very quickly and with ease.”
SLS was seen as the most viable of the 3D printing processes to achieve targets in robustness and weight, whilst maintaining the accuracy of the design. Also, if a player requires more than one handle, SLS can also be a cost-effective process for small batch production of different variants at once or multiples of the same.
The process works by a laser tracing the required shape across a layer of powder in the build chamber which is then sintered – to form a prerequisite shape. When each layer is completed, the powder bed drops down for the next layer of powder to meet the laser and the process is repeated, sintering and bonding the current layer to the previous.
Using a 3D printing process also enabled Unstrung Customs to speed up supply from two weeks to under 72 hours and guarantee the accuracy of each part, avoiding issues with alignment and grip area which had hindered the previous method of injecting polyfoam into the handle.
Mr Ruiz added:
“The way Ogle work is like a big family. When you walk in, the people you meet from reception through to the model shop and beyond treat you as if you’re their only and most important customer. I wouldn’t hesitate in working with Ogle again and recommending them to anyone and everyone, just not our competitors.”