Golf is a popular sport in corporate America and adds about $70 billion a year to the American economy. The 2018 Merchandise Show of the Professional Golfer’s Association displayed the latest and greatest from golf manufacturers, most significantly the latest top of the line golf clubs and experimental 3D printed golf balls.
In May 2018, Callaway Golf of California, the largest manufacturer of golf clubs in the world, a collaboration 3D printing company Titomic of Auatralia, planning to bring 3D printing into the world of golf while also improving performance and efficiency. In September 2017, Titomic introduced a new process for 3D printing with metals they call Titomic Kinetic Fusion, using cold gas spraying to apply titanium particles to a structure to create parts that can withstand a great amount of force. Research and development of the prototypes will be done at Titomic’s Melbourne facility, home to the world’s largest 3D metal printer.
In Novmeber 2016, Krone Golf and CRP Group designed a club that was created by using a mixture of additive and subtractive manufacturing, known as the KD-1 driver. The body of the KD-1 driver is made from a Windform SP carbon composite that is resistant to percussive shock and vibration, while the face is made of Ti 6AI-4V, a durable titanium alloy that is CNC machined and sanded to make it sufficiently smooth. Krone Golf’s performance tests and computer simulations show the KD-1 to outperform any driver on the market today.
In February 2017, Nike announced that it was prototyping a 3D printed golf ball that is engineered to last longer and outperform the best golf balls on the market. Nike is produced in first golf ball in 1999. They still use elastomeric material for an inner core and a rigid material for an outer core, but 3D printing allows for smoother transitions between materials and adds a new type of geometric configuration called a void, which it is hoped will lead to better performance. Golf balls would be fused with DuPont Surlyn by using a 3D printing technique called fused deposition. The golf ball is not yet on the market, although Nike are expected to announce it in the near future.
The golf industry is constantly trying new methods of manufacturing in the quest for better performance. Club manufacturers and brand names like Callaway are using 3D printing in the production process to improve the smallest technical aspects of the golf club, which could not be done with traditional manufacturing methods like injection or compression moulding. 3D printing has a strong future in the golf industry and as more companies research its potential, 3D printed products can be expected to become increasingly widespread in the world of golfing.
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