Jun 10, 2015 | By Simon

While many of the 3D printing projects that we hear about are aimed at revolutionizing manufacturing processes including the creation of consumer product designs, Maker projects, surgical practice aids for medical professionals or even bionic prosthetic devices for those with limited mobility, there’s also plenty of room to have fun with technology, too.  

Just yesterday we saw how some RC car enthusiasts used 3D printing to create a comical RC bed project and many others have used the low-cost and affordable to nature of 3D printing to create their own custom projects as well.  Now, a team of Makers from Shanghai have used the technology to create their own foosball table that features their own heads for the actual players.  

Created by Eddie Tsai and his colleagues at the Fung Academy, a group based in Hong Kong and Shanghai that are currently looking at the future of sourcing and retail, the table was a part of an experiment that looked into how 3D printing can transform their business and ultimately, mass customization.   

“(After looking) into mass customization, one of our business units formed a group called Studio 8020; with the concept of being able to serve the masses using 80% mass manufactured goods supplemented with 20% customized goods that utilized digital manufacturing technologies.” said Tsai in an interview with 3Ders.  

Since the group was already in the process of testing new consumer experiences leading up to the launch of a new retail lab in Shanghai, they decided to showcase the capabilities with the unique foosball table which would both capture the team as well as create an object that was fun and whimsical for the space.     

To create the table and the custom players, the team started with scanning each of the team members using an Artec 3D scanner.  Once all of the team members had been scanned, the scans were cleaned up and prepped for 3D printing.  The team decided upon a 3D Systems Projet 660 for the heads and faces due to the ability to capture important facial details while the rest of the bodies were made using FDM 3D printing on a Pirate 3D Bucaneer 3D printer.  To attach the heads to the bodies, the team used a simple layer of glue.  

While the team had initially wanted to print the bodies in their entirety using the Projet 660, their testing revealed many disfigurements and strength issues.  According to Tsai, if you kicked the foosball hard enough it would result in a clean beheading.  The decision to use FDM 3D printed bodies for the player bodies resulted in a much more steady product.  In total, the heads were able to be printed overnight in two batches.  As for the actual table itself, the team chose to use a smaller-sized children’s foosball table which is slightly smaller than a professional table.  

Much to the delight of the young shoppers in their retail lab, the team unveiled the table recently on Children’s Day in China and Tsai is proud to say that the table (and the 3D prints) were able to stand up to the abuse of all of the young children who chose to participate.  


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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