Dec 2, 2015 | By Tess

If audiences around the world watch Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana cross the finish line of the Tour de France first this July, there is a strong likelihood the athlete will have 3D scanning technologies to thank! That is, 3D scanning and even 3D printing technologies have found their way into athletic clothing design, taking customization and tailoring to a whole new level and creating marginal gains that could mean the yellow jersey for Quintana.

Scottish cycling apparel company Endura, who supply cycling team Movistar - of which Quintana is a part - with equipment, have recently started using 3D scanning technologies to capture detailed and accurate 3D models of some of the team’s most prized athletes. The 3D scanning process began at Movistar’s pre-season training camp in Pamploma, Spain where Endura director Jim McFarlane 3D scanned the bodies of the team’s cyclists.

For most of the team, the next step was to enter the data from the 3D scans into their design software so that a virtual model of their bodies could be made, allowing for the designers at Endura to create custom fitted cycling apparel for the whole team.

McFarlane explains, “Our software maps the 3D patterns that we cut from the fabric, and it virtually stitches it over a 3D avatar. It shows us tension maps across the body, using specific fabrics with known stretch characteristics. It looks like a heat map, but it shows the amount of stretch across the body, and it means that we can essentially refine each of the rider’s garments to fit them more accurately.”

For some of Movistar’s most prized athletes, such as Quintana and British cycle champion Alex Dowsett, however, Endura has bigger plans.

By 3D scanning the athletes’ bodies, both standing and on a bike, the designers at Endura are hoping to ultimately 3D print life-size mannequins of Quintana and Dowsett so that they can continue to develop and refine their custom cycling apparel to maximize their aerodynamics and fit even when the athlete’s are not there.

“Scanning is the solution to two problems,” explains McFarlane. “The first is that you can’t necessarily get access to take riders physically to a wind tunnel. The second is that they fatigue when they are there, and aero testing is all about consistency and repeatability, so the idea was, we scan Alex, we then take his 3D avatar or ‘scanatar,’ as well call it, and use that to 3D print a mannequin of Alex that we can then build into a physical working model with adjustable limbs. We get to repeat the process that we did with Alex, but on Nairo so that we can refine his clothing.”

The team at Endura plan to work on the 3D printed mannequin of Quintana over the next few months in order to take the 3D printed cyclist model to the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 wind tunnel at Silverstone to test and further adjust the skinsuits.

Of course, we will have to wait until July when the Tour de France comes around to see if the technology will pay off and enhance Nairo Quintana’s cycling speed. We can’t wait to see the outcome!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About 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