Oct.16, 2013

Australian scientists have created a customized set of purple titanium shoes for a Melbourne race horse using 3D printing.

To create the titanium shoes, scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) first scanned each hoof of the horse, nicknamed 'Titanium Prints', using a 3D scanner to generate a computer aided design (CAD) file. The CAD files are then sent to the 3D printing machine.

Compared to conventional methods of manufacturing, 3D printing is highly efficient and environmentally friendly. CSIRO's Titanium expert John Barnes says it takes less than 24 hours to print four customised shoes for a horse and it costs approximately $600 for all of them.

Because a horse's gape needed to be as long as possible to win races, the horse required light shoes to protect its hoofs without too much wear. A horse shoe is usually made from aluminium and can weigh up to one kilogram, and these heavy shoes greatly increase the stress on a horse's legs.

A 3D printed titanium shoe is lighter, but it costs also more than an aluminium shoe. However for horse racing it is thought that the rider should be as light as possible, as well as the horse's shoes. "We believe the weight reduction would be worth the added cost." says the horse's trainer John Moloney. "Any extra weight in the horse shoe will slow the horse down."

"These titanium shoes could take up to half of the weight off a traditional aluminium shoe, which means a horse could travel at new speeds. Naturally, we're very excited at the prospect of improved performance from these shoes." explains Moloney.

Mr Barnes at CSIRO believes further design optimization can take more weight out which also takes out cost.

Australia produces more titanium ore than the rest of the world. CSIRO is developing technologies to convert ore into metal, and metal into manufactured items, helping Australia to sustain the same export earnings per year and extend use of the resource for up to 9000 years. "We wanted to highlight an area of 3D printing that we feel isn't getting enough attention," he said. "We wanted to show people how a custom piece could be made and the design flexibility within the process."

Watch the video below the titanium additive manufacturing layer by layer:

Source: CSIRO

Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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3dprintronics.com wrote at 10/18/2013 8:25:14 PM:

3D printing such things will allow greater customization. Whether shoes for horses or dentures for humans, everything can be made after analysis and study. Great going 3D printing!!

Stacy wrote at 10/17/2013 10:33:55 AM:

I'd imagine the fact that they're 3D printed from a much harder metal allows for a more intelligent internal structure than a simple bent and hammered rod.

OldGuy wrote at 10/16/2013 7:18:48 PM:

It's hard to see how the Ti shoes could be lighter than Al, since Ti is 60% more dense, i.e. heavier...

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