Girls in STEM

Update: Spotlight School Success

Update: Spotlight School Success

SUCCESS! Since electing Liberty Elementary School as our Spotlight School, we have come to adore the Liberty family more and more each day.  T

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Search articles, videos and updates on 3D Printing and its growing presence in our world

Girls in STEM

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

This week, we bring you a short video on a STEM'tastic educator! Scroll down to WATCH this educator doing what she does best - teachi

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Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Watching super cool EDUCATIONAL videos from across the web is one of our favorite pastimes! Join us in learning more about 3D printing in the clas

Science and Math

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the season for GINGERBREAD and working the delicious treat into your family - and CLASSROOM - fun. Last week, as students across the

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3D Printing Opportunities In Sports Gear

By Staff Writter

3D Printing Opportunities In Sports Gear

Career Insight and Training

Among the 3D printing opportunities available to passionate sports enthusiasts is sports equipment design. Thanks to clever use of the 3D printer, improvements in equipment design are happening at an accelerated pace. These innovations have improved the performance of athletes and have opened up a variety of sports activities to the physically disabled.

Running

Luc Fusaro from France, is an engineer who developed a technique of 3D scanning a runner's foot and then 3D printing it into an ultra lightweight running shoe. To get a customized design for an athlete, he scans them as they perform various athletic tasks. This allows him to modify the design so that it is optimized for that particular individual. The printed shoe weighs only 96 grams and can improve running performance by 3.5 percent which in the world of Olympic competition, can mean the difference between a gold medal or no medal at all. Luc Fusaro says that the secret to the shoe's light weight is its structure rather than the material it's made from.

Prosthetics For Athletes

Rock climbing is a sport about super precise body movements. If your center of gravity is slightly off or your foot isn't positioned correctly, you will fall. The advancements in climbing shoe design have made it possible for the climber to climb in impossible places that humans aren't normally meant to be in. This is why it was so devastating to rock climber CJ Howard when he lost his lower leg to bone cancer. He found that his standard artificial foot wasn't well suited for climbing.

However, a former mechanical engineer friend of his used a CAD package to design a climbing prosthesis made from titanium. An EOS direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) machine at Morris Technologies was used to print the prosthesis. It was then coated with the same rubber used for the soles of climbing shoes. He's been climbing with the prosthesis 3 times a week without problems. He plans to make more prostheses that are specialized for specific types of climbing. Howard says

"it’s like changing tyres on a race car - you just switch your foot for different climbs."
 
 

Crowd Sourcing Sports Gear Design

Perhaps the greatest impact that 3D printing will have on the advancement of sports gear design is that it makes the sharing of human innovation possible on a global scale. The development of open source software is an example of what is possible with crowd sourcing. The same phenomenon is now possible with the development of items such as surf boards, skis, snow boards, and so forth. Sport enthusiasts with 3D printers are free to experiment and improve equipment design. They can then share this information on the Internet where the design gets improved on by others.

There are many 3D printing opportunities for the entrepreneurial sports enthusiast in the area of sporting gear and equipment design. The technically proficient sports enthusiast will also have an edge in finding job opportunities in product design for sports equipment companies because they have both the technical know how and an intimate knowledge of the sport itself.