While shoe manufacturers have been using 3D printing to prototype shoes for years, this is the first shoe by a major manufacturer that plans to use 3D printing for the final product. The Nike Vapor Laser Talon is 3D printed using selective laser sintering to produce an ultra lightweight football shoe weighing only 159 grams (5.6oz) including cleats. Nike designed the cleats specifically to help athletes quickly accelerate from standstill.
As mentioned in the previous post where we looked at the cost of injection molding vs 3D printing, the value of the 3D printed part is in the complexity, not just the material cost. Nike are using this 'free' complexity to design the football cleats for maximum performance without being constrained by issues of manufacturability.
“Nike’s new 3D printed plate is contoured to allow football athletes to maintain their drive position longer and more efficiently, helping them accelerate faster through the critical first 10 yards of the 40... Translated to the game of football, mastering the Zero Step can mean the difference between a defensive lineman sacking the quarterback or getting blocked... SLS technology has revolutionized the way we design cleat plates – even beyond football – and gives Nike the ability to create solutions that were not possible within the constraints of traditional manufacturing processes”
Shane Kohatsu, Director of Nike Footwear Innovation.
There are so many sporting applications where a complex, customized product can be 3D printed in Nylon which is incredibly lightweight yet strong enough to withstand great stress if designed properly. What other sports do you know of that are ready for 3D printed components?
Using an aerosol jet technology, Optomec are able to 3D print electronics onto complex 3D printed structures with conductive nano particles. The potential to add 3D printed conductive components to your designs will be a massive step forward in 3D printing when you can add another level of complexity to the products you design.
It will be interesting to see how 3D CAD software will approach this technology, because without the proliferation of software to design these electronic components, the adoption of the technology will be relatively limited. Similar to the ability to 3D print mulit-materials with the Objet Connex machines, it is the software and file handling that is still retarding the adoption of the process at Shapeways.
The demand for novel consumer and military electronic devices that pack more functionality into less space is driving the need for advanced manufacturing methods that tightly integrate electronic circuitry with physical packaging. 3D Printed UAV Wing The unique ability to print electronics directly onto 3D surfaces, for example on a cell phone case or an aircraft wing, makes Aerosol Jet an ideal solution for reducing device size and weight. Common electronic materials including conductor, dielectric, resistor, and semiconductor inks can be processed by the Aerosol Jet system to print conformal sensors, antennae, shielding and other active and passive components. Printing these electronic components directly on or inside the physical device eliminates the need for separate printed circuit boards, cabling and wiring thereby reducing weight and size while also simplifying the assembly process. Device performance can also be improved by eliminating protruding components such as antenna thereby reducing aerodynamic drag.
When you can 3D print electronics, what will you design? How much is the ability worth to you? Do you think this will be another game changer?
When the President of the United States mentions a technology such as 3D printing in the State of the Union address, you know his staff have undertaken substantial research from every possible angle, that his aides have spoken to engineers, economists and experts in manufacturing to understand the revolutionary potential. When Obama mentions a "network of additive manufacturing hubs," he is at the same time validating the Shapeways business model that consists of a network of manufacturing hubs, in both the USA and Europe, a network that brings manufacturing closer to the people that buy the products. Creating products and jobs locally.
When Obama says 3D printing will revolutionize manufacturing, he is not only speaking of the technologies we have at hand today, the technologies that allow Shapeways users to create their designs in Nylon or Stainless Steel to sell to people around the world, but also he is speaking of the technologies that will soon evolve. When you will be able to 3D print plastic and steel composites in a single 3D print, when you will be able to 3D print electronics into your products, when you will be able to make things that are beyond the realm of the imagination right now.
Think back to five years ago, when the ability to 3D print your ideas was extremely expensive and the option to buy and sell 3D printed products simply did not exist. Now for us at Shapeways it is the new normal. Obama and his advisors obviously think that 3D printed products will soon be the new normal for the rest of the world, really soon.
We have seen hundreds of interesting 3D printed accessories for the iPhone from cases and clips to mounts and amplifiers. Lab02 have designed a really sweet rande of lightclips for the iPhone.
The Lightclip was designed specifically for 3D printing
in White Strong and Flexible (Nylon). This material is very strong (obviously),
affordable and an excellent light diffuser. The Lightclip
emits a beautiful ambient light, which is evenly distributed and very
easy on the eyes. Use it as a nightlight, at a camping trip or when in
need of a superhero!