Sports firm in World Cup first

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - 3D TECHNOLOGY -

Sports gear man­u­fac­turer Nike is about to launch its first 3D printed bag and a new shin guard – de­vel­oped us­ing the dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy.

The Nike Foot­ball Rebento Duf­fel is the world’s first 3D printed per­for­mance sports bag. So far, only three have been made and were car­ried by foot­ballers Ney­mar Jr., Wayne Rooney and Cris­tiano Ron­aldo in Brazil dur­ing the FIFA World Cup.

“We wanted to cre­ate some­thing that was truly spe­cial for the game’s great­est play­ers,” says Martin Lotti, creative direc­tor for Nike Foot­ball.

“We did this by us­ing one of the most cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies – 3D print­ing – to make a bag that is un­like any­thing else.”

Tak­ing cues from the Nike Flyknit pat­tern of the Magista and Mer­cu­rial, the laser-sin­tered ny­lon cre­ates an in­ter­twined weave on the bag’s 3D printed base. The 3D print also gives the bag body and cre­ates a light­weight, yet durable struc­ture that al­lows for flex.

Hand­crafted, pre­mium leather is used on the bag’s up­per and straps, which seam­lessly fits into the 3D printed base with­out the use of glue or ad­he­sive. 3D printed hard­ware al­lows for un­prece­dented lev­els of cus­tomi­sa­tion and opens new pos­si­bil­i­ties for in­te­grated in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

The Mer­cu­rial FlyLite shin guard, says Nike, is a rev­o­lu­tion­ary de­sign that’s “built for speed”.

“Play­ers such as Ney­mar rec­og­nize the need for a guard and want that pro­tec­tion, but they tell us they want it with­out sac­ri­fice,” says Lotti. “So we sought to give them just that – our best pro­tec­tion with­out sac­ri­fic­ing, speed, fit or com­fort.”

The com­bi­na­tion of en­gi­neered ma­te­ri­als and a new de­sign pro­vides pre­mium pro­tec­tion with a “barely-there” feel.

A spe­cially en­gi­neered shock sys­tem at the back of the guard com­bines with an outer shell that work to­gether for op­ti­mal im­pact pro­tec­tion with in­creased flex­i­bil­ity and breatha­bil­ity.

The guard re­places tra­di­tional foam back­ing with a new webbed shock sys­tem that, gram for gram – claims Lotti, pro­vides more con­sis­tent im­pact ab­sorp­tion hit af­ter hit than foam.

The in­no­va­tive webbed back­ing uses pips, which come into con­tact with the outer shell to help ab­sorb and dis­perse im­pact, pro­tect­ing the shin while re­mov­ing ex­cess ma­te­ri­als.

“We found the more ma­te­rial you took away, the bet­ter the guard pro­tected the shin,” says Lotti. “Re­duc­ing ma­te­rial also al­lowed for un­prece­dented flex­i­bil­ity, cre­at­ing a fit that was un­like any­thing play­ers had ex­pe­ri­enced.”

In ad­di­tion to the in­creased flex­i­bil­ity, al­low­ing for a more cus­tomised fit, the pips cover a larger sur­face area along the shin bone to help dis­trib­ute force over a greater area and ab­sorb im­pact. The hon­ey­comb struc­ture also de­liv­ers op­ti­mal air­flow and breatha­bil­ity, while the thin pro­file of­fers the ul­ti­mate in light­weight strength.

Nike’s equip­ment de­sign team also used 3D print­ing tech­nol­ogy to ex­per­i­ment with hun­dreds of im­pact pat­terns.

“With 3D print­ing, we were able to quickly in­no­vate, ex­per­i­ment and test hun­dreds of pat­terns and pro­to­types for the en­gi­neered shock sys­tem,” said Lotti.

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