Sports Equipment and 3D Printing: Better Performance

January 8, 2020

Raising the Level of Performance

Imagine what happens when a global IT company partners with a world-class sports brand? Information technology giant, HP is working with Oakley, a California-based sports brand to create 3D printed prototypes and functional parts across Oakley’s portfolio of products.

Oakley Brand

Oakley is a designer, developer and manufacturer of sports performance equipment and lifestyle pieces notably sunglasses. They also produce sports visors, ski/snowboard goggles, watches, apparel, shoes, backpacks, optical frames, and other accessories. They claimed that world-class athletes around the globe depend on Oakley products to compete at the highest level. They are now partnering with HP, with its breakthrough 3D printing technology, to accelerate their design to production timeline, and reconceptualize the way their products are made, pushing the boundaries of sports performance to new heights. Using Multi Jet Fusion, Oakley is reducing the product development stages of its eyewear selection as well as other athletic equipment.

Oakley began integrating 3D printing into its design process in 1992 to create the Eye Jacket sunglasses. Since then additive manufacturing has transformed its development process as well as the silhouette of its sunglasses. As of 2018, the company has been utilizing HP’s Multi Jet Fusion for rapid prototyping across multiple product lines, including sunglasses, helmets, and trophies. It speeds up the design iteration process as designers can fabricate and test color-coordinated parts in a day when it usually takes two to three weeks. Their printer is also capable of producing full-color functional parts while maintaining optimal mechanical properties.

Other Brands and 3D Printing

Other sports equipment companies are incorporating 3D printing to improve athletic performance. There’s Carbon, the Silicon Valley-based start-up behind Digital Light Synthesis partnership with American football equipment provider Riddell to develop customized 3D printed NFL helmet lining. It’s also collaborating with Fizik, a US-based cycling equipment manufacturer, to create a 3D printed bike saddle. GuardLab, a New York-based sports technology brand, also partnered with Bauer Hockey, to launch personalized 3D printed mouthguards.


Accelerating Athletics in Seattle

If you’re into sports and you’ve got something you think will improve your performance in your field, all you have to do is turn to 3D Composites.