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Rapid Ready Roundup: Nike, Solidoodle, Royalty, and Gummi Men

In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing (AM), I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.

Let’s start today’s Roundup on the right foot. Nike is using AM not only for prototyping, but to manufacture new shoes, specifically the brand new Vapor Laser Talon (VLT). The VLT (sounds like a sandwich) is a football cleat that has been optimized for the 40-yard dash, with selective laser sintered soles designed to help athletes keep the proper stride.

Nike's Vapor Laser Talon football cleats

Nike's Vapor Laser Talon football cleats feature 3D printed soles. Courtesy of Nike.

“Nike’s new 3D printed plate is contoured to allow football athletes to maintain their drive position longer and more efficiently, helping them accelerate faster through the critical first 10 yards of the 40,” said MJP Performance Director, Lance Johnson. “Translated to the game of football, mastering the Zero Step can mean the difference between a defensive lineman sacking the quarterback or getting blocked.”

Next, Solidoodle (seen here on Rapid Ready) is branching out into retail. The hobbyist 3D printer manufacturer has announced the upcoming launch of “… the world’s very first lifestyle 3D printing store.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but the stores will be going up in Russia, Ukraine, Moscow, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. More and more AM companies are opening store fronts, both to raise awareness and to act as local service bureaus.

Moving on, he must never have gotten the horse he kept asking for, because the remains of King Richard III were discovered under a parking lot north of London. After the identity of the remains was verified, scientists went about making a 3D scan of Richard’s head. The data was fed into an EOS (company profile here) Formiga P 100 to create a plastic reproduction. Building a new head allows archaeologists to examine the remains more closely without fear of damaging the original.

“Generating the first 3D computer models was a very exciting moment.  And later seeing the skull of Richard III emerge from the powder of the laser sintering machine in physical form was incredible,” said Professor Russell Harris, head of the University of Loughborough’s Additive Manufacturing Research Group. “It was quite clear to see a number of the significant injuries that he had sustained in battle, and at last the greater story of how the King met his death can be told.  Recording various aspects of the remains, in both electronic and physical form, will be invaluable for future studies.”

Gummi Guys

Gummi guys are sure to be an unexpected surprise for some Japanese ladies. Courtesy of FabCafe.

Finally, you may remember an earlier Roundup covering the Japanese company FabCafe offering to make 3D printed chocolate heads for Valentine’s Day. In Japan, the holiday is one-sided, with women giving presents to men. On March 14, White Day is the second half of the holiday in which men give treats to their ladies.

Obviously another batch of chocolate heads would be passé, so this time FabCafe is offering the men full body 3D scans to create molds. The molds will then be used to make Gummi, err, guys(?) to hand out to the ladies. That takes the phrase, “I could just eat you up!” to a whole new level.

Below you’ll find a short video about the reconstruction of Richard III.

Sources: FabCafe, Materialise, Nike, engadget

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About John Newman

John Newman is a contributing editor to Desktop Engineering magazine. He covers the rapid prototyping and manufacturing beat.

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