Printing our way to Olympic glory

November 2016

Printing for Team New Zealand Sailing; lightweight titanium trapeze harness. Photo: TiDA.

Printing for Team New Zealand Cycling; lightweight titanium handlebar extensions. Photo: TiDA.

TiDA’s spin-off company Rapid Advanced Manufacturing (RAM) printed the necessary titanium parts to help some of New Zealand’s athletes achieve Olympic glory at Rio this year.

Two of New Zealand’s 2016 Olympic teams were supported in their pursuit of the ultimate performance with new light-weight titanium parts.

RAM provided custom sailing harness parts to four-time world sailing champions and 2015 International Sailing Federation World Sailors of the Year Peter Burling and Blair Tuke for their Men’s 49er gold-medal winning campaign at the Rio Olympics.

When the competition is this hot, shaving off grams on an athlete’s gear can be the winning difference. The previous trapeze harness spreader bar used by the Olympic pair weighed 230 grams. RAM managed to reduce this to just 108 grams using a 3D-printed hollow titanium structure. The rules state that the harness must float, so a reduction in mass of the metal parts provided further benefit through requiring less bulky buoyancy material to comply. 

RAM also produced handlebar extensions to support the New Zealand cycling team competing in the Rio Olympic Velodrome. The handlebar extensions were optimised for weight, aerodynamic and rider performance on the revolutionary Avanti Olympic cycles used by the cyclists. The New Zealand's sprint trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins brought home the silver after missing out on the gold to Great Britain by an agonising 0.102 seconds. The trio clocked the three fastest times of their lives at Rio.