Scientists in Australia from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) have worked together with horse trainer, John Moloney to produce 3D printed horse shoes made from titanium.
It seems as though commercial 3D scanning and printing is a hot topic at the moment. The scientists at CSIRO are interested in exploring just how many uses 3D printing could actually have. The latest use in 3D printed horse shoes is an unexpected but valuable on according to the experts. Ordinarily, horse shoes would be made from iron or steel. Special uses have seen horse shoes made from rubber, plastic and copper too but for race horses, the preferred material for horse shoes is aluminum.
Moloney says that every ounce of weight counts when it comes to horse racing. Titanium is up to half the weight of aluminum shoes and a lot stronger. This could mean that titanium shoes will be more hard wearing but more importantly, they could give a horse the opportunity to run at faster speeds because they’re not carrying as much weight.
Scientists and Moloney got together and scanned the hooves of a local race horse, dubbed Titanium Prints before they used a 3D titanium printer to print lightweight horse shoes that were a perfect fit for the horses hooves. The scanning of the hooves took a few minutes while the 3D printing took less than 24 hours. Experts say that because the 3D printers can print more than one item at a time, all four shoes could be printed together if the print bed was large enough.
The total cost of the 3D printed horse shoes from titanium was approximately $600 for four. This is above the average price of a set of aluminum horse shoes but experts are in agreement that the reduced weight which should convert to faster speeds would more than outweigh the extra cost in the grand scheme of things. The scientists from CSIRO are excited to show the world all of the different applications for 3D printing.
[Image via CSIRO]