We have seen 3D printed football cleats by Nike, 3D printed Football stadiums by Zverse, and even devices to prevent injuries from concussions 3D printed by Reebok. We had to yet to see a standard-sized, 3D printed footballthat actually feels – and throws – like a traditional football.
The football was 3D printed by Stratasys 3D on an Object500 Connex 3 multi-material PolyJet printer. To create the faux leather, the printer combined a rubber-like TangoPlus with Rigid Magenta (VeroMagenta), and used Rigid Yellow (VeroYellow) for the stitching and the internal structure. To give the ball a more realistic feeling to the touch, the Stratasys team also incorporated the texture of a composite football into the design with slightly raised material.
The final result weighs about the same as a weighted warmup ball. It’s worth mentioning that the ball was 3D printed as a single piece and came out of the Object500’s bed ready to go, with no need for inflating. It is not yet clear if this could ever become a production method for actual in-game footballs. One thing is for sure, though, they are never going to run the risk and controversy of deflating during the game.