3D-printed equipment to improve the performance of athletes at the Tokyo Olympics

The use of 3D printing is no longer limited to scientific uses only, but it has begun to take a new form in its use, which is what happened in the construction of the first bridge made of 3D printing in the Dutch capital Amsterdam.


Additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing, has rapidly moved from an experimental field in research labs to be a creative tool for innovators around the world.


A French athlete is taking custom 3D-printed equipment to the Tokyo Olympics, where the equipment is designed and printed by Athletics3D, a French 3D printing company that specializes in improving athletic performance.


Former Olympic silver medalist Céline Goubertville will compete in the 10m air pistol event at the Tokyo Olympics this month, to ensure she can perform at her best and has worked with Athletics 3D to make improvements to the pistol grip she will use in competition.


Various designs were printed on the Zortrax M300 Dual 3D printer, a desktop-sized machine capable of high-quality printing without any supervision.


After making a number of designs, Goubertville settled on a particular grip to try at the recent European Shooting Championships in Croatia. This was Goubertville's last chance to test the grip in a competitive environment before the Olympics began, in which she reached the final knockout round, where she won a bronze medal.


And while Joubertville was happy with the weight and shape of the handle, she wasn't entirely satisfied with the surface finish. Traditionally, shooters prefer a rough surface because it provides them with a tighter grip, but Goubertville wanted a smoother finish, so the team at Athletics 3D started working on the changes right away, and printer provider Zortrax had a ready-to-use solution.


3D-printed items usually feature visible lines that mark where the printer has finished adding one layer to begin printing another layer. Zortrax's post-treatment system, called Apoller, uses a smart vapor smoothing technology called SVS that smooths 3D-printed surfaces using acetone fumes.


The grip was sanded by hand with sandpaper before being exposed to acetone fumes in an aboler in a process lasting over 3 hours.


Clement Jacqueline, founder, and CEO of Athletics 3D, explained in a Zortrax blog post said, one of the main reasons I used Apollier for this project is that it can change the amount of solvent present in different areas of the model. In this way, the grip is properly smoothed while keeping all the necessary details intact without changing the dimensions and geometry.


Athletics 3D made two identical fists that Goubertville took to Olympic Village, and plans to use one and keep the other as a backup in case of emergency. 3D-printed materials are making a big splash at this year's Olympics, as all 98 Olympic podiums were printed from more than 24 tons of household plastic waste.

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