3D Printing in Sports- Digital Making 2017

Guest Post: Carter CarrollThis collection of posts refers to the Digital Making Class offered here at Illinois. Each week students are required to write down what they have learned throughout the week. Below is a guest post written by Carter Carroll about his findings on 3D printing in the sporting industry.

The capabilities of 3D printers will transform traditional manufacturing across all industries primarily because they lower costs, are more efficient, create fully customizable products, and are one machine that creates finished products as users digitally design. IP lawyer John Hornick states in his book 3D Printing Will Rock the World,  that for these reasons, parts manufacturing companies will be the first to be overtaken by 3D printing with consumer products soon to follow (Hornick, 2015).  For the sports industry, most of the manufacturing of consumer products falls under the category of sporting goods and equipment. These include major sporting brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.  It should be noted that the creation of sporting goods is by no means a small part of the overall sports industry, “The market for sporting goods in the United States has a projected value of almost $65 billion, and recreational transport and the equipment category accounts for 25 to 30 billion U.S. dollars in consumer purchases” (Jaaskelainen, 2016). The above reasons are just part of why sporting good manufacturers and users see value in use of 3D printing technology. Currently 3D printing can be regarded as a mutually beneficial innovation for sport equipment brands and consumers. Overall it is primarily the customization capability, and low cost accessibility of the products 3D printing technology can create, that provides the most value to industry stakeholders. Below are some products that companies and people alike have already created for the sport industry using 3D printing.

Certainly, the ability to fully customize products with 3D printing is the most prevalent way that the sport industry sector has been using the technology. For sporting goods manufacturing companies, the sporting equipment products they create are primarily for athlete use.  The challenge with making sport athlete centered products is that every athlete is different. Additionally athlete consumers typically desire products that will improve performance, or to which brand they identify with.  Providing athletes with custom equipment that will improve performance is in part what a big draw to what 3D printing manufacturing in sports is doing.

Are you an undergraduate at Illinois and need a class for Spring 2018? Take Digital Making! Apply now by emailing your resume to vishal@illinois.edu, with a short note explaining your interest in the course and any skills/passions in making that you bring to the course. Application will be open until November 15th. And don’t forget to stay tuned to MakerLab updates by liking us on Facebook, or following us on Twitter or Instagram.

Take a Selfie with Max- and win a $50 full body scan and print


  Take a Selfie with Max during the reading day Brunch with the deans (Dec 8th from 10:30 to 11:30 am) in the BIF Commons area, and win a  $50 full body scan and print.


We will bring Max to the brunch and all of you can take selfies with him(and perhaps the dean's if they are game). Share your selfies and get friends to like it, and you could win a full body scan for yourself and a 8 inch 3d print of the scan, worth $50! Read the rules below and join us!

Contest Rules

  1. The contest starts at 10:30 am Thursday December 8th US Central time and ends at Friday December 9th at 11:59 am US Central time.
  2. Take a selfie with Max, and post it on your instagram account. Tag us @uimakerlab and use the hashtags #makerlabGiveaway . Follow us on instagram . Make sure your account is public during the competition, if you want us to be able to see the posts.
  3. Get your friends to like the post. The person with the most likes by the deadline(Friday December 9th at 11:59 am US Central time)  wins the prize
  4. The winner gets a full body scan and an eight inch 3d print of the scan, worth $50.

Winners will be announced by Monday December 12 on our Instagram account, and we will tag the winner.

Online Conference on the Future of Making

Join us at the MakerLab to watch (together, with Pizza sponsored by Autodesk!), to learn about the future of making from a great set of presenters. You will also get some tips on the Fusion 360 software. Spots are limited in the lab, so sign-up now for free! Content below is replicated here from the Autodesk website-----

What Join us online for a front row seat to hear from and interact with thought leaders on collaborative design and engineering. Learn about the latest trends in 3D printing, the world’s first AI car, and how to keep up with accelerating technologies.

Get up and running with Autodesk’s Fusion 360 with a live training session and learn how to get your own 3D printed model shipped to you.

Why Design and engineering is changing dramatically, driven by disruption in the way we live, work, communicate, and produce and consume products. Already, products are coming to market in new ways – and that trend is accelerating. As a result, Autodesk re-imagined CAD/CAM from the ground up and developed a completely new platform, Fusion 360.

Fusion 360 is a cloud-based 3D CAD/CAM platform for product development that combines industrial and mechanical design, simulation, collaboration, and machining all in one.

Autodesk is a partner of the lab, and also a contributor for our online specialization in 3d printing.


10 Reasons to have a birthday party at the MakerLab

  1. It's educational - Learn about 3D printing and 3D Scanning
  2. Each participant gets to take home their own 3D printed object
  3. Great for all ages and skill levels
  4. Workshop is lead by our experienced lab guru's
  5. Breakout time saved for cake and ice cream (not provided)
  6. Birthday boy/girl gets a 3d printed bust to take home
  7.  Learn how to design and print from TinkerCad
  8.  Interact and play with all 3D printed objects around the lab
  9.  Receive a free MakerLab keychain
  10. Have the best birthday party ever!Please note:
    • Participants must be aged 7 years or older in order to participate in a MakerLab birthday party
    • We need at least one adult to stay with the group during the party.
    • We can accommodate up to 15 individuals for a birthday party. Parents can participate too as workshop members.
    • We provide time for food and presents while in the lab.

Happy belated birthday to Andrew!!! Andrew and his friends celebrated with us in the MakerLab ! Check out the fun photos below. Find out more or drop us a line to reserve a spot on weekends.

CU Makeathon envisions wearable future.

This CU Makeathon is a 30 hour make-a-thon where participants work together to build physical prototypes and mockups centered around a given theme.  This year the them was designing for the body/wearable technology. CU Makeathon was a very interesting experience as it was an event open up to a wide variety of ages. The MakerLab had the opportunity to assist participants in elementary school, high school, as well as college in their iterative design process. We took several printing orders and ensured that each team could quickly obtain their part so that they can continue assembly.

Participants where able to 3D print on the Ultimaker in house or remotely send prints to the rest of our 3D printers back in the MakerLab.  After prints were sent they could check their progress by watching the webcam on our website .

Although not every team needed a 3D printed part, we educated them and encouraged them to try 3D printing in the future as it unveils a whole new world of possibilities.

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Illinois MakerLab Supports Student Hackers


On February 19th-21st the Illinois MakerLab supported HackIllinois by providing our 3D-Printers and Guru's to help students rapid prototype their ideas. In the span of 36 hours, hackers were challenged to innovate, design and achieve.  HackIllinois was an exciting, non-traditional experience for students. This year, three initiatives were introduced at HackIllinois: Software, Hardware, & Open Source.

Approximately 900 students from all over the U.S. were in attendance.  Many students from other Universities and Colleges had never seen 3D printing before.  Throughout the weekend our Lab Guru's educated students about the technology and how they could use it to prototype and enhance their hardware hacks.

Now checkout how the Illinois MakerLab supported relay for life.

Setup at HackIllinois
Setup at HackIllinois
Our Guru, Pranay, at work
Our Guru, Pranay, at work
Hackers learning about 3DPrinting
Hackers learning about 3DPrinting