Sports are now added to the list of industries using rapid prototyping services for better results. Whether individuals and teams wish to improve their performance or to reduce costs, 3D printing is officially a part of the sports’ world. Many of such advances are utilized by professionals, schools, for personal recreation, and to correct and prevent injuries.
Professional athletes are using rapid prototyping services to enhance their performance like never before. One of the ways they enhance their performance is through their footwear. Shoe manufacturing companies are racing against each other to use 3D printers to be able to create subtle, yet significant, customizations to shoes to improve performance. Another way these companies are changing the game is by printing equipment to be tested and used in a superior manner. In sports, being ahead of the competition is essential for both the athlete and the products they use. Millions of dollars, if not billions, are used each year to test products so that the athletes they hire to endorse their products remain the best in their sport. Cycling has become one of the sports industry leaders using 3D-printing technology and it has proven critical for athletes using titanium-printed parts. As with all industries, rapid prototyping is also helping to cut costs making each team more competitive and appealing to both audiences and athletes. This is only the beginning for sports and 3D technology.
Average Joes Using Rapid Prototyping
Sports are expensive and not all schools or communities have equal budgets to provide kids with the equipment they need to be competitive or to even have school teams in some instances. Rapid prototyping services are helping to change this. Some schools are beginning to take advantage of 3D printers to provide their kids with equipment. Such equipment could include bats and balls for baseball, kickboards for swimming lessons, and batons for track and field. The progress does not end there. Schools are even able to use them for providing a much wider array of activities during physical education. These advances are opening a world of possibilities to many students that have had limited opportunities most of their lives. For those schools that have more money, 3D printing is being used in similar capacities as professional sports teams to improve performance. While school districts will likely always vary pertaining to funds available for athletic programs, 3D printing is helping to provide more opportunities to everyone. And, it carries into communities. Various community centers are utilizing these technologies to create more community activities for people of all ages and interests. Some examples include shuffleboard sticks and pucks, hockey sticks and pucks, and swimming accessories.
Recreational Rapid Prototyping Folks
In addition to sports for kids and professionals, rapid prototyping is also being used for recreational purposes. Many people are using 3D printers to produce fun items to take to the beach and pools. Surfboards are becoming a highly popular item to print. Both amateurs and professionals are utilizing the sophisticated technologies available to improve surf performance. Some people use it specifically to create a customized board for specific design features and others use it to create customized boards that will create a superior experience. The same rapid prototyping technology can be used for bodyboards, wakeboards, and kitesurfing boards. Golf is another popular recreational sport that is using 3D printing to change the game both professionally and for amateurs. People are using printed items for everything from tees to actual clubs. The level of sophistication varies greatly based on the intended use from kids playing in the backyard to professionals looking to enhance their drive.
Recovery & Rapid Prototyping
Another way prototyping is changing sports is through medical advances. Many athletes of all ages and skill levels experience serious injuries while playing sports. In recent years, advances in 3D-printed medical uses have been allowing for longer careers and longer active lives. Knees are one of the body parts particularly challenged during most sports activities. Today, it is possible to have a knee replacement surgery with a knee made from a 3D printer. It is also possible to produce new knee cartilage to prevent further injuries. The same can be said for hips in older people or even race car drivers who may experience serious accidents. And, people who lose limbs for any reason from war to diabetes can use more affordable custom made prosthetics to keep an active lifestyle well into their old age.
Rapid prototyping is revolutionizing sports in all capacities and improving the quality of life for millions of people. Whether someone is a professional athlete or a kid with limited opportunities, rapid prototyping can help make life better for people in every community across the world.
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