3D Printing at the Winter Olympics

by Noah Mostow

This weekend marks the end of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. I am always impressed by the athletes. Nils van der Poel of Sweden broke his previous world record for speed skating the 10 km (6.2 miles). The U.S. team will return home with many metals in several events, including freestyle skiing and the monobob. Race times continue to improve, which makes me think about David Epstein’s 2014 TED Talk titled “Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?”

Most producers of athletic equipment are likely using additive manufacturing (AM) for prototyping but rarely for production. For the most part, the equipment is similar and highly regulated, so the performance of the athletes is ranked by talent and skill. However, I learned that this is not the case for some sports, such as bobsledding. Beyond baseline requirements, such as safety, weight, and some elements of design, the teams can work with engineers to improve the aerodynamics and features of the sled.

This was the first year for the women’s monobob. Women race at 120 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour) and all sleds are the same. The only differences are the women pushing and driving the sled. However, some athletes may gain some an advantage from their shoes. BMW Group has worked to optimize the spikes for the shoes. In the monobob, it may not have had a favorable impact because the U.S. won gold and silver and Canada won bronze. I like the excitement surrounding the Olympics and hope that as the equipment improves, every team can benefit from the new technology.

Access

Wohlers Report 2022

Technical, market, and strategic advice on Additive Manufacturing 3D Printing Rapid Product Development

Related Press & News

June 16, 2018

The Impact of DfAM

By Olaf Diegel Over the past three decades, the bulk of research in additive manufacturing has largely focused on AM…

Read More
October 25, 2015

3D Printing Startups

What does EmberSurge, 3d Evolution Printer, 3Dom, and 3Dponics have in common? And, Avatarium, bondswell, Chemcubed, and Chimak3D? They are…

Read More
June 23, 2012

Olaf’s Guitars

I have been lucky to receive many parts and products made by additive manufacturing over the past 25 years. The…

Read More

Learn more about ASTM and AM CoE

ASTM unites with the Wohlers brand to build on its market influence and access to top AM industry decision-makers worldwide.

  • Establish standards, certification, and qualification for repeatable, consistent parts and processes
  • Prevent gaps and duplication of work in a dynamic, fast-paced technology space
  • Identify challenges that can be solved with technological improvement

Research and Development

Under the leadership of the R&D team, the AM CoE partners plan and conduct coordinated R&D projects, prioritized annually and targeted to expedite...

Learn More

Education and Workforce Development

Provide a comprehensive program that educates and trains the additive manufacturing workforce at all levels, while continually incorporating new advances...

Learn More