3D printing is slowly revolutionizing how we construct things in our society. 3D printing allows for cheaper costs while maintaining and sometimes increasing the quality of the product. 3D printing and the sports world surprisingly have a lot in common; there’s a lot of room for transforming how we do things in sports with 3D printing.
Companies like Nike have already been making strides in developing 3D printed shoes. Nike has been trying to figure out ways to create lightweight, shock absorbent sports gear from 3D printing. As per Anand Mishra of Star Infranet, it’s hard to guess the direction of 3D printing and sports because of its versatility. Here are some possibilities we might see soon.
3D printing will eventually help to reduce costs for athletes with disabilities. This has the potential introduce more people with disabilities to the world of sports. Wheelchairs and prosthetics specifically for sports are very expensive which can cause a lot of people to peruse different hobbies. Not only can 3D printing build these devices at a cheaper cost, but it can also customize them to an individual person for no extra cost.
3D printing also has a lot of potential application in American football. American football has been under a lot of scrutiny recently for being a dangerous sport with lots of lasting side effects. Traditional helmets simply can’t offer the level of protection needed to maintain long-term health. 3D printing can shape materials at microscopic levels, which allows a 3D printed helmet to absorb shock in an entirely different way.
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have been working on adding 3 or more layers of cushioning into helmets; strengthen by changes at the microscopic level. These helmets can also be customized to the exact size and shape of a player’s head. Not only will they be cheaper to make, they certainly can provide a significant increase in safety.
Sports and 3D printing have a bright future. Players could easily order customized equipment, quickly crafted to their needs. Certain research facilities are already testing 3D printed golf clubs, tennis racquets and clothing. Soon 3D printing will be in every sport; even amateur sports enthusiast can find uses for 3D printing.