3D printing is fast becoming an invaluable tool within the sports industry, with a rapidly growing range of applications. A host of top sports manufacturers have seen the technology’s potential. Adidas has recently begun trialling it for a new breed of running shoe, and Nike has been granted a major patent for footwear production. Now, a team of three engineers from the University of Bristol in the UK have developed a new 3D printing technique, which they hope will revolutionize the production of sports equipment for the average person.
Sports retailers might not welcome this news but the engineers hope that their development will soon enable a vast range of composite materials; things like tennis rackets and golf clubs, to be printed easily and at a low-cost in people’s homes. They have even confirmed that their process, which uses ultrasonic waves to manipulate strong fibres, will be adaptable to off-the-shelf, 3D printers. However, the potential clearly ranges far beyond domestic sports equipment production, with Dr. Richard Trask, Reader in Multifunctional Materials in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, noting that it could also have substantial medical uses, in particular the vast and cheap production of ‘resin-filled capsules
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