I’m into gadgets and technology, so much so that I often wonder why my wife agreed to marry me. Now I’m not saying that I’m trying to make robots and stuff, but I’m still a bit of a nerd. I’ve been following the 3D printing revolution with a keen eye and I’ve been wondering, why we can’t print a hockey stick in South Africa.
I love hockey, always have, and I’ve been interested in the business side of the sport for a while. See the problem is hockey (field not ice) is an amateur sport in South Africa, as there is little to no money in the sport. This becomes a problem when the Rand depreciates 40% odd against the dollar in a year, making equipment almost unaffordable.
Imagine for a second, you go to Peter Wright at Malik and tell him the shape of the stick you are looking for and the composition (amount of carbon, fibre glass and aramid/Kevlar) and he proceeds to print one for you. This may be years ahead of us, but imagine the possibilities. Best of all you’re overheads can be decreased because you won’t have to carry stock, although your initial investment is much higher. You also won’t be affected by currency fluctuation, import taxes and shipping.
The guys at Crown hockey are doing it. I quite like these guys because they are pushing the boundaries of what we know about hockey.
Why stop at sticks? This week Adidas made history by 3D printing running shoes http://qz.com/519475/adidass-new-3d-printed-midsole-promises-perfect-fit-sneakers/. You could print perfectly fitting boots. You could even print hockey bags. Nike produced bags for the 2014 Soccer World Cup using 3D printing http://www.dezeen.com/2014/06/08/nike-3d-printed-sports-bag-fifa-world-cup-2014/.
The possibilities are endless.