Aug 26, 2016 | By Tess

Lakers fans and basketball fans in general will already know that legendary player Kobe Bryant celebrated his 38th birthday this week. Bryant, who recently retired after an exceptional 20-year career playing for the L.A. Lakers, has gone down in history as one of the most respectable, talented, and frankly badass basketball players of all time (f you don’t believe us just check out this video). In honour of Bryant’s athletic and philanthropic achievements and in celebration of his birthday, the city of Los Angeles has officially declared August 24th as ‘Kobe Bryant Day’. In light of this celebration, we thought we’d also honor the superstar athlete in our own way with a list of basketball themed 3D prints and projects.

Basketball themed 3D prints #1: 3D printed finger basketball game

While not many of us can claim to have scored as many points on the court as Bryant—him being a professional athlete and all—there is no reason us regular folks can’t also enjoy the game. For basketball lovers who can’t get enough of the sport on the court, check out this mini 3D printed finger basketball game, which can even keep you entertained at your desk. The 3D printable game was designed by MyMiniFactory user Rees and comes with a compact sized basket, court, and launcher. The ball itself can be printed separately, or as Rees advises, you can simply use a bit of sticky tack rolled into a ball. The maker does not suggest any special print settings, so you should be able to print the finger basketball game and get to playing right away, practicing your finger slam dunks and lay-ups.

Basketball themed 3D prints #2: 3D printed slam-dunk mug

If your morning routine doesn’t have enough basketball in it, maybe this 3D printed slam-dunk mug will be more your speed. The mug, which is designed to let its users slam-dunk marshmallows (or sugar cubes, or whatever you want) into their morning hot chocolate or coffee, was designed by eight-year-old Max Ash who first made the mug out of clay for a class project. Seeing the product potential of the young boy’s idea, his family decided to run with the idea, naming it the Mug with a Hoop and having 3D printed prototypes of various designs made for it. In the end, Max and his family funded their mug project with a Kickstarter campaign and used 3D printed molds to make their first production run. With even more success after that, the slam-dunk mugs were bought up by retailers such as Nordstrom and even the Basketball Hall of Fame. Considering the success of the eight-year-old’s design, we can’t help but wonder whether Kobe is slam-dunking marshmallows in his very own Mug with a Hoop.

Basketball themed 3D prints #3: 3D printed Spock prosthetic

As we see on a regular basis, physical disabilities rarely stop people from pursuing the things and activities they love, but can often hinder them in some ways. Fortunately, 3D printing has come in handy for many of those people as specialized prosthetics and assistive devices can be custom made for them on the fly. Just a few months ago, a specially designed 3D printed hand prosthetic was made to help children play basketball. The Spock hand, so named for its resemblance to the “Live long and prosper” salute, helps people with hand disabilities (but still with wrist movement) to throw and hold a basketball with ease. The impressive athletic device was designed by UCLA’s 3D4E with help from the UCLA Women’s Basketball Team and was inspired by e-NABLE’s Raptor Reloaded prosthetic. The Spock 3D printed prosthetic is open-source and can be made by just about anyone with a 3D printer by following these instructions. Most of the parts can be digitally adjusted to fit any size forearm and wrist, and simply need to be printed and assembled with a few extra materials, like sports foam, finger grips, fabric elastic, etc.

Basketball themed 3D prints #4: 3D printed basketball sneakers

Though you may not see these basketball sneakers on the shelf at your local Footlocker anytime soon, these awesome 3D printed sneakers are definitely worth mentioning on our list. Zhang Xiaolong, a young shoe designer from China was recognized for his “FUTURE” 3D printed concept sneaker last year and even took home the silver award at the Global Footwear Design Competition. The white basketball shoes, which were designed using Delcam CRISPIN ShoeMaker design software, are still very much in the concept phase but are still a great example of the potentials of 3D printing footwear. The sneakers not only look great, however, as Xiaolong made sure they were structurally functional as well. To make the shoe design as breathable as possible, the designer actually studied the environment of basketball players and took into account such factors as fever, injury, and competitiveness. He translated his findings into an architecturally inspired structure which are just as functional as they are stylish.

Basketball themed 3D prints #5: 3D printed basketball holder

Alright, now back to some things you can print yourself! This 3D printed basketball holder could be the perfect accessory for basketball enthusiasts who want to store their ball in a cool and original way. Whether you need to display your Kobe signed basketball, or just need a place to put your own ball after a match of three-on-three, this 3D printed hand-shaped holder could be just the thing. The holder fits a size 1 basketball (with a 130mm diameter) and should be printed with 100% infill. To mount the holder you’ll simply need a few screws to secure it to a wall.

Basketball themed 3D prints #6: 3D printed pocket basketball

If you want to add to your collection of mini basketball games, this 3D printable pocket basketball game is sure to impress your friends (or at the very least entertain you for hours). Designed by Thingiverse user Mario Marchese, the pocket-sized game can easily be set up for mini basketball fun (try getting the tiny ball through the tiny hoop), and when you’re done playing can be folded up just as easily into a portable case. Included in the 3D files for the game are a set of balls, a case, hoop, and the shooting platform. In terms of print instructions, Marchese suggests using supports for only the case, and recommends a 20% infill for all of the pieces. So while you might not be able to match Kobe’s talent on the court, you could become the champ of pocket basketball!

Basketball themed 3D prints #7: 3D printed desktop basketball

Here’s one more 3D printable mini basketball game, after all, you can never have too many! This 3D printed mini hoop and balls are meant to turn your desktop into a fun game-zone. In fact, the game was designed especially for March Madness so that participants could become even more immersed into the sport. Available through Thingiverse, the 3D printable game can be printed on any 3D printer, though for maximum impact, the makers of it do suggest printing the balls out of a rubber material, if possible. With a number of successful makes on Thingiverse, what’s stopping you from upping your desktop basketball game!

Basketball themed 3D prints #8: 3D printed Lakers logo

If you’re a true Lakers fan, and want to show your dedication to the team that Kobe Bryant led to victory no less than 5 times in his two decade-long career, why not do so with a 3D printed Lakers logo? Thingiverse user Kelvin Ulloa recreated the iconic logo, which can either be printed as simply the logo or as a keychain. The design was also made to be printed with dual-extrusion (for both colors) but can be printed in a single color as well. According to the maker, supports may be needed for the keychain version of the Lakers logo. Also, if you are printing with a single extruder, Ulloa suggests moving the center piece down the Z-axis by a few mm so that the logo details will be more apparent. As an added bonus, check out this 3D printable NBA logo.

Basketball themed 3D prints #9: 3D printed basketball wheelchair seat

This year, we’ve seen how 3D printing has made an impact on the lives and performances of a number of Olympians, including many Paralympians. This is not the first year 3D printing has been used in the Olympics, however, as in 2012 a number of basketball Paralympic athletes rode in wheelchairs equipped with custom designed 3D printed seats. The 3D printed seats were used by team Great Britain and were developed at Loughborough University’s Sports and Technology Institute. Not only were the seats specially designed to fit each athlete (achieved with 3D scanning), but they also helped cut back on the weight of the wheelchair making them easier to move and manipulate. How’s that for a 3D printing and basketball mash-up?

Basketball themed 3D prints #10: A 3D printed basketball?

While we may still be a little ways away from 3D printing an NBA approved or regulation basketball, you can’t say it’s impossible to 3D print one. That is, 3D Systems impressed its audiences in 2013 by 3D printing an—admittedly unplayable—full-size basketball on its then new CubeX 3D printer. At the time, the printer’s build volume (10.8” x 10.45” x 9.5”) was one of the largest in its category and it boasted being able to print something as large as a basketball.

Let us know, are you up to the challenge of 3D printing any of these basketball themed-prints on your 3D printer? Also, happy birthday week Kobe!!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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