Conquering the Slopes with 3D Printed Skis

Conquering the Slopes with 3D Printed Skis

With the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics well under way, we want to highlight the opportunities that exist with 3D printing when it comes to sports. 

Members of the Stratasys Applications team, as well as Stratasys Founder, Chairman, and Head of Innovation Scott Crump, took to the slopes to test out what could very well be the world's first 3D printed skis. The skis themselves are built from ULTEM 9085 resin on the Fortus 3D Production Systems, which uses fused deposition modeling technology capable of producing end-use parts. 



The Skis were designed by Stratasys senior applications engineer Dominic  Mannella at the Skunkworks facility. As for the testing, that was left to Scott, “Scott loves to be the first to try anything, especially when it comes to 3D printing. I am not aware of anyone who has ever taken 3D printed skis downhill before.  This kind of adventure is right up Scott’s alley — he’s a longtime thrill-seeker with many exploits to his credit.”

The material Ultem was chosen due to its strength and stability, which is suitable in even the coldest and wettest conditions. 

Scott Crump Chairman Stratasys Skiing


The Process

One of the Ski Segments printed on the Fortus line of 3D printers (Fortus 900mc). ULTEM 9085 was used due to its strength and ability to hold out in the epoxy layup process. 

One set of Skis was printed in Tan, the other in Black.

3D Printed Skis Fortus 3D Production Printers

Many design iterations were made to ensure the skis were both safe and functional. Each test piece is derivative of a different design or simulation.

This is a typical process you would see in the creation of many different sporting goods. 

3D Printed Skis Fortus 3D Production Printers

The final design of the skis was in two parts (tip and tail) which would both fit in the build area of the fortus system. 

The components were designed to allow for metal binding inserts

3D Printed Skis Fortus 3D Production Printers
In order to maximize strength and minimize weight, the interior of the ski was populated with a semi-hollow triangular fill structure
Custom tooling was designed in SolidWorks alongside the ski. The 3D printed template was used to cut the P-Tex sheet stock to the right shape 3D Printed Skis Fortus 3D Production Printers
The metal edges were glued to the edge of the P-Tex. These stock elements assist in making the skis usable, but the majority of structural strength and rigidity come from the 3D printed component. 3D Printed Skis Fortus 3D Production Printers
Another custom tooling example with a 3D printed fixture was designed to hold the ski base in the proper shape. 3D Printed Skis Fortus 3D Production Printers
The non-bonded surfaces were masked with masking tape and epoxy was applied to the surfaces to be bonded. The binding inserts were then bonded into place, the parts were laid up on the fixture, clamped, and left it to set overnight. 3D Printed Skis Fortus 3D Production Printers
The skis were removed from the press and cleaned up. The edges were sharpened with hot-wax being applied. The bindings were then fitted. 3D Printed Skis Fortus 3D Production Printers

*P-Tex Definition – a thin, flexible polyurethane, the function of which is to accept wax


A Tribute to Team Canada – #WeAreWinter



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