3D Printed Nike Trainers
Possibly one of the biggest commercial endorsements of 3D printing to date is that sports giant Nike are set to incorporate the technology into its Vapour Laser Talon.
Nike has actually used 3D printing for prototyping for years but the brand now feels the results are good enough for mainstream consumption.
Working closely with Olympic gold medal sprinter Michael Johnson Nike wanted to understand how he and his team train American Football players – especially during the 40-yard dash which tests the speed of each player.
Nike measured the performance of the cleats (known as studs in the UK) which help athletes to maintain their drive stance for longer on football turf.
The result is the Nike Vapour Laser Talon which is set to increase an athlete’s performance considerably.
Lance Walker, MJP Performance Director, explained that an athlete’s “zero step” is the pivotal point of a stride that can make or break an persons 40-yard time.
The few seconds before the first step hits the turf is when acceleration speed and propulsion are determined. During this phase, it’s all about geometry.
Nike’s brand new 3D printed plate allows players to maintain their drive position for longer and more efficiently.
Johnson commented: “Translated to the game of football, mastering the zero step can mean the difference between a defensive lineman sacking the quarterback or getting blocked.”
Nike engineers used SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) to create the shoe, a method that uses a high powered laser to bond molecules of material to build up high definition shapes.
Nike say; “The SLS process allows for the engineering and creation of shapes not possible with traditional manufacturing processes, as well as the ability to make design updates within hours instead of months to truly accelerate the innovation process to never seen speeds.”