The Olympics is almost over, having brought many stories of 3D printed sporting goods to the public eye. But the world of sports is just getting warmed up with additive manufacturing, as this latest 3D printed offering has demonstrated.
Baseball gloves have remained fairly unchanged since their invention way back when. They have one job, and that is to allow the ball to be caught by the player without breaking their hand.
To breathe a bit of innovative life into the traditional baseball glove, cloud manufacturing company Fast Radius has teamed up with American sporting goods manufacturer Rawlins and Carbon to bring a new glove design to the public.
The result is the REV1X baseball glove, which you can see in the image below.
The REV1X glove differs from traditional gloves due to its “Precision-tuned lattice stabilizers” inserts inside the fingers, which according to Rawlins helps to provide an “ultra-lightweight, form-fitting game-ready glove that gives you consistently unmatched playability across the field”.
Those plastic mesh-like stabilizers are shown below.
The lattices themselves were printed with the Carbon FPU material. The FPU material is a semi-rigid plastic with high strength, high fatigue resistance and high abrasion resistance, which are all useful when trying to catch a ball hurtling towards you at 100 MPH.
The rest of the glove is made from molded components and leather. They also come in a range of colours and for different players, because not all baseball players wear the exact same gloves, and “infield” gloves are different from “outfield” gloves. The one in the image below is an example of the infield glove model, and all the REV1X gloves come with the AM lattices.
In order to develop the tuned lattices, Rawlins made use of Carbon’s DLS process for prototyping, before scaling up for production with the same system.
“After prototyping the REV1X lattice inserts using Carbon’s DLS process, Rawlings needed a way to scale this complex part to mass production,” said John Nanry, co-founder of Fast Radius.
“Because speed was key with this project, Rawlings wanted to be able to iterate new inserts quickly based on real time feedback from players.”
Rawlins has plenty of expertise in the domain of baseball gloves. While innovations in that domain are few and far between, Rawlins has been present for the most significant ones.
“From the famous Bill Doak glove developed in the early 1920’s that was the first to include a pocket and web, to the creation of the Trap-Eze web in the late ‘50’s, to the newly released REV1X, Rawlings has always been at the forefront of glove technology and innovation,” said Ryan Farrar, senior director of ball gloves at Rawlins.
The new REV1X glove looks to be the next significant step in the glove’s evolution.
If any of you are interested in purchasing a baseball glove just like this one, you can find them online at Rawlings, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and JustBallGloves.com for $399.95.