3D printing continues to transform industries and corporations all over the world by its capability to cut down on production costs. Even the Pope has reaped the benefits of additive manufacturing, as members of his Swiss Guard will be donning plastic 3D printed helmets soon.
Recognized as one of the world’s smallest armies, The Swiss Guard is a group of single Swiss Catholic men who have pledged themselves to protecting the Pope. A new group of recruits will be joining the force to serve Pope Francis for at least two years.
The highly trained guards might incite envy from their predecessors, however, as they will no longer have to wear heavyweight, metal helmets. Cristoph Graf, the commander of the Swiss Guard, recently presented the guards’ new lightweight helmets 3D printed from PVC.
Aside from cheaper production cost, the 3D printed helmets are significantly lighter than their metal counterparts. At €880, they are about half the cost of the metal ones. The 3D printed helmets are also UV-resistant.
The new headgear resembles the traditional metal helmets, and still bear the coat of arms of Pope Julius II, who was responsible for founding the Swiss Guard in 1506.
This is not the first instance 3D printing crossed paths with the Vatican. In 2016, Pope Francis gave his blessing to a fleet of 3D printers being sent to Uganda and the Congo for the purpose of manufacturing prosthetics.
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