Titanium horseshoes are printed in hours
Scientists have 3D printed a set of custom made titanium shoes for a Melbourne racehorse in a first for the sport.
The horse, dubbed by researchers as ‘Titanium Prints’, had its hooves scanned with a handheld 3D scanner.
Using 3D modelling software, the scan was used to design a set of perfect fitting, lightweight racing shoe – four customised shoes were printed within only a few hours.
Traditionally made from aluminium, a horseshoe can weigh up to one kilogram. The horse’s trainer, John Moloney, says that the ultimate race shoe should be as lightweight as possible.
“Any extra weight in the horseshoe will slow the horse down,” he says. “These titanium shoes could take up to half of the weight off a traditional aluminium shoe, which means a horse could travel at new speeds.
“Naturally, we’re very excited at the prospect of improved performance from these shoes.”
Titanium expert John Barnes of CSIRO, says 3D printing a race horseshoe from titanium is a first for scientists and demonstrates the range of applications the technology can be used for.
“There are so many ways we can use 3D titanium printing. At CSIRO we are helping companies create new applications like biomedical implants and even things like automotive and aerospace parts.
“The possibilities really are endless with this technology,” he said.
The scanning process takes a few minutes and printing of the shoes can start right away.
CSIRO researcher Chad Henry presents 3D-printed race shoes to the Melbourne racehorse ‘Titanium Prints’.