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11/16/2017 | 1 MINUTE READ

Virginia Tech Students Produce 3D-Printed Golf Grips

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The individually customized grips can be slipped onto clubs and used to build muscle memory forcing golfers into the correct grip every time.

A Virginia Tech student engineering team has created a customized 3D-printed golf grip that could be a game changer for all the golfers out there as it conforms to the individual golfer's hands to guide correct placement each time they pick up a club.

To create this golf grip, which is made from thermoplastic polyurethane, the team made a clay mold of hands in the correct grip position, scanned the mold and converted the image to a 3D CAD model before printing, according to a news release from the university. The grip can be slipped onto golf clubs and used as a non-tournament aid for players to help build muscle memory and achieve the desired consistent, correct grip without the need for a professional trainer.

By converting the product into a filament for printing, the students were able to use customized structural infill patterns to tailor the stiffness of the grip to the golfer’s individual preference.

We’ve printed a completely a new product and we’ve done it using a material that’s never been printed before.

Chris Williams, the John R. Jones III Faculty Fellow of Mechanical Engineering, instructs the additive manufacturing course that inspired this team-based final project, challenging students to design a product that could be made using additive manufacturing.

The Virginia Tech students garnered recognition with their design when they were awarded first place in the 2017 Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Digital Manufacturing Challenge.

“From an educational standpoint, it was an excellent opportunity to correlate a class project with a competition,” said Williams, associate professor of mechanical engineering. “From a research standpoint, this is the next generation. It’s not every day students come into class and say, ‘We’ve printed a completely a new product and we’ve done it using a material that’s never been printed before.’ Because there were team members with polymer science and engineering backgrounds, they were able to modify an existing material to make something new.”