Who says there’s no room for 3D printing in the Olympics? Certainly not the United State’s luge team, which sought to the technology for a winning lift in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
U.S. Olympians Justin Krewson and Andrew Sherk rode sleds designed in collaboration with industrial 3D printing giant, Stratasys.
According to Stratasys’ applications engineer Dave Dahl, former team members approached the company at the International Manufacturing Technology Show. “Essentially they said what we hear from a lot of clients: ‘We want to customize our tooling. We want it faster, we want it cheaper,’ ” he further explains.
The team created scans of the Olympians’ bodies, from which Stratasys created molds using its Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology. The primary advantage in using FDM over traditional molding methods is its ability to iterate at a faster rate, giving the team the ability to try out different versions of a sled ahead of the big show.
Currently, the technology is solely used as tooling for the manufacturing process. However, Stratasys plans to start making 3D printed sleds in time for the next Olympics.
“Even though they’re competing now, we’ve provided them with different 3D-printed components to evaluate for actual portions of the sled,” says Tim Schniepp, Senior Director of Composites at Stratasys. “We’re absolutely working up to printing the sleds themselves.”
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