Personalized swords helped the Japanese fencing team take the Silver in 2012 Olympics
MINNEAPOLIS and REHOVOT, Israel, Aug. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Stratasys Ltd.( http://www.stratasys.com ) (NASDAQ: SSYS), a leading manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems for prototyping and manufacturing, today has announced that the University of Tsukuba, Japan is using an Objet350 Connex multi-material 3D Printer( http://www.stratasys.com/3d-printers/design-series/precision/objet-connex350 ) as part of its advanced R&D program for sports science and Olympic training.
(Photo: http://www.prnasia.com/sa/2013/08/27/2013082711272556585.html )
(Logo: http://www.prnasia.com/sa/2012/12/05/20121205155959811273-l.jpg )
The University of Tsukuba conducts research and development in three key areas: sports equipment, training and conditioning. A research team led by Professor Norihisa Fujii at the university's Faculty of Gymnastics developed equipment used by Japan's fencing team which won the Silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics.
3D Printing Helps Fencers Get a Grip
The hilt of the fencing sword must fit the fencer's hand perfectly, even a slight difference in the shape of the hilt can spell victory or defeat. Before 3D printing, there was only one type of fencing hilt in the world, and each competitor had to personally file the hilt to customize the fit and achieve a non-slip surface. If the sword ended up breaking, it was almost impossible to get another one with the same fit.
For the 2012 Olympics the researchers at the University of Tsukuba scanned the actual equipment used by the fencers in 3D, and the resulting polygon data was then incorporated into 3D CAD. The 16-micron accuracy of the PolyJet based Objet350 Connex 3D Printer enabled the researchers to produce iterative prototypes of each sword with minute variations according to the athlete's feedback. A total of 70 prototypes were produced.
Mr. Osamu Takeda, a researcher who managed the modeling of the prototypes at the University of Tsukuba, Sports R&D Core commented, "Players are not engineers. They talk about their requirements instinctively. So, bearing this in mind, we develop various patterns based on different assumptions. With the Objet Connex multi-material 3D Printer, we can do this easily. We can respond flexibly and promptly because the machine is so accurate,"