3D printed basketBall: the Airless Prototype

Behind the first 3D printed basketball by Wilson, DyeMansion, General Lattice & EOS

A 3D printed basketball without air?

That's called re-inventing a product &
shows the full potential of Additive Manufacturing.

YouTube

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

3D PRINTED BASKETBALL: THE PROCESS

The idea for the Airless Prototype came from Wilson, with no less of a goal than to reinvent the basketball.

General Lattice`s computational design services helped Wilson develop the final design of the ball.

Using a material proprietary to Wilson, the Airless Prototype is then printed by EOS.

3D printed basketball - Airless Prototype by Wilson, General Lattice, EOS & DyeMansion

After depowdering, the ball receives its finishing touch with DyeMansion's VaporFuse Surfacing & DeepDye Coloring.

#AIRLESSPROTOTYPE

POST-PROCESSING OF THE 3D PRINTED BASKETBALL

How our DeepDye Coloring & VaporFuse Surfacing helped to achieve the required properties of Wilson's 3D printed basketball.

Post-processing steps | ©DyeMansion
YouTube

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Learn all about the post-processing of the Airless Prototype

The main obstacle is the combination of new technology and a proprietary material, resulting in a ball with a completely unique surface texture that differed from rubber or composite materials. Particularly when it comes out of the printer, it is white and has a finish that isn’t necessarily favorable for the player. The end-user was going to be an athlete, and for them comfort, appearance, and tactile experience are crucial. While we can experiment with aesthetics and design, if the athlete doesn’t feel at ease with the ball, the application willl never succeed. Therefore, a very important step was to transform the printed part into a product that closely resembled what the athlete was accustomed to, ensuring a more familiar and satisfying experience.

With General Lattice’s Computational Design Services, the final design was found using precise settings of various parameters. EOS was able to find the specific, high-performance material and the right printing solution. To go from the raw, printed part to a playable product, DyeMansion’s VaporFuse Surfacing and DeepDye Coloring is used. The Powerfuse S and the process known as VaporFuse Surfacing, is introducing a solvent via vapor form into the process chamber and onto the ball itself via a unique sequence. This way it’s creating condensation on the ball itself. As that process transforms, the system creats iterative cycles to repeat that process over and over via very specific parameters that can be defined based on the smoothness level that is being aimed for. In the final stages the system is removing all of the residual vapor off the part. After the process there’s a ready-to-go product straight out of the system that can then be colored in the next step. With the DM60 a dye pigment is introduced into the part. This dye is chemically bonded to the polymer links themselves, which means the process is impacting into the part itself and therefore not leaving anything on the surface that’s residual.

  • Completely sealed surface, refraining from dirt and debris uptake

  • Surface for a more seamless feel of play by resisting perspiration

  • A homogeneous color – which is always reproducible due to a reliable process using cartridges

  • Fully automated system that can run lights out when going into larger production volumes

POLYSHOT CLEANING

POWERSHOT PERFORMANCE

VAPORFUSE SURFACING

POWERFUSE S

DEEPDYE COLORING

DM60

WHAT THE PROJECT TEAM MEMBERS SAY

“Seeing the final ball being used at the NBA dunk contest by KJ Martin was an incredible experience for me. I got to be courtside when it was rolled out. In the arena I felt the energy of the people around me and the players that were standing on the sidelines with me. It would just inspire so much passion and so much discussion around basketball.”

Nadine Lippa (PhD), Innovation Manager at Wilson Sporting Goods Co.

“We knew the person actually using it was going to be an athlete. One of the most important things for an athlete is comfort, look and feel. If the athlete doesn’t feel comfortable with it, the application will never make it. So what really needed to happen from the print to the athlete was to make this application more feel and resemble an actual product that someone was used to.”

Michael Schorr, General Manager at DyeMansion North America Inc.

“DyeMansion added a lot of value to this project because the ball comes out white and with a finish that is not favorable to the player. So taking the ball from a blank canvas to a finished painting is exactly what DyeMansion did for us. Also, the smoothing process seals the part and just makes it more consistent so that it performs better in our testing.”

Nadine Lippa (PhD), Innovation Manager at Wilson Sporting Goods Co.
dyemansion-wap-interview-dave

“What’s unique about the basketball is that it needs to be completely spherical, which is very simple in design but can be challenging in AM. The printing process involves depositing thin layers of material. In the case of the basketball, the challenge lies in maintaining the perfect spherical shape throughout the printing process.”

Dave Krzeminski (PhD), Senior Additive Minds Consultant at EOS
dyemansion-wap-interview-marek

“What we brought to the Airless prototype are computational design services. Wilson came to us with a design and structure for what they wanted on the ball. Through GL Labs we were able to offer design services that allowed us to make really complex prototypes and iterations very quickly to get to the final design.”

Marek Moffett, Co-Founder at General Lattice

3D PRINTED BASKETBALL: FURTHER INSIGHTS

YouTube

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

YouTube

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

NEWS & STORIES

Benchmark your Parts

Feel free to test our VaporFuse Surfacing & DeepDye Coloring solutions with your own parts.

Discover our industry-leading Print-to-Product platform.

Scroll to Top

Do a benchmark

    I would like to:

    Send in my parts for a free benchmarkDo a live benchmark at our mansion

    DyeMansion will process all information provided here in accordance with our privacy policy.

    *Mandatory field

    Get a quote

      I would like to get a quote for:

      Print-to-Product WorkflowPowershot CPowershot SPowershot Performance SeriesPowerfuse SPowerfuse S PPDM60 SeriesOn-Demand FinishingColor Matching

      DyeMansion will process all information provided here in accordance with our privacy policy.

      *Mandatory field

      Contact

        I am interested in (multiple answers possible):

        Print-to-Product WorkflowCleaningBlasting (PolyShot)Vapor Polishing (VaporFuse)Coloring360° Digital ServicesBenchmarkingBecome a partnerCompatible 3D-printing technologiesOther

        DyeMansion will process all information provided here in accordance with our privacy policy.

        *Mandatory field