Feb.3, 2014

Image: © Fraunhofer IWM

At the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia, German biathlete Martin Fleig will compete wearing a sit ski that is designed to adapt to fit his requirements. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM have developed a way to optimize such high-performance sit skis using 3D printing.

Until now, sit skis have tended to be one-offs, manufactured mostly by technically gifted athletes or their assistants. The development of sports equipment especially adapted to the requirements of physically challenged competitive athletes is still in its infancy.

Top sportsman and biathlete Martin Fleig started practicing this sport at age 9. For competing with other Olympic ski stars at the 2014 Paralympic Games, Fleig, now 24, volunteered to have a sit ski designed to meet his particular needs.

Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM and their research and industry partners are working together on this project, dubbed "Snowstorm", to come up with a lightweight and yet stable design specifically tailored to Fleig.

Image: © Fraunhofer IWM

During a biathlon competition, skis have to weather a variety of stress. In addition to gliding over uneven cross-country snow, the skis also have to withstand extreme pivotal motion.

First 3D biometric data of the athlete's movements were used to help ascertain the optimum seating position. Then Fraunhofer scientists used a variety of computer simulations to determine the sit ski's lightweight design.

"Our aim for the project is to find ways to design sit skis that can be tailored to any athlete while also making the process as cost-effective as possible," explains Fraunhofer scientist Professor Scherge.

Image: © Fraunhofer IWM

Using selective laser sintering, Fraunhofer scientists produced its first prototype using polyamide 12 high-performance polymer and embedded it with sensors to measure stresses occurring during use. The ski poles also included built-in sensors to record force transferred when poling.

Image: © Fraunhofer IWM

The collected data provided the basis for the second prototype, allowing the researchers to add channels at the points where the highest stresses were measured. These channels could then be fitted with steel wires to provide additional strength.

Image: © Fraunhofer IWM

The new sit ski has passed its first round of endurance tests at the Notschrei Nordic Center in Germany's Black Forest and the altitude training camp in Livigno, Italy.

The project partners hope the Winter Paralympics will stimulate wider interest in the sport among amateurs: "We'd be thrilled if the Games gave disabled people new ideas about how to get involved in sport by showing just what's possible with help from the right technology," says Professor Scherge.

Thanks to Mark for the tip!


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



Maybe you also like:


Beth wrote at 1/21/2016 3:50:30 PM:


many best news wrote at 5/21/2014 1:43:37 AM:

K7ZPtB Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog article.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

Jeffreylin wrote at 2/25/2014 6:30:46 AM:

不知道Fleig 的残疾类型和程度是怎样的。

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive