Laser scanning ensures good fit for Team GB

Published 06 July 2012

Posted by greg corke

Article tagged with: cad, rapid prototyping, laser scanning, olympics, bike, helmet

Team GB cycle helmets feature a dual shell design, comprising an inner shell, which fits closely to the athlete’s head, and an outer shell that is shaped for optimum performance

Crux Product Design, a Bristol-based design and engineering company, played an instrumental role in the development of the track and road cycling helmets that will be used by Team GB at the London Olympics.

The helmets were commissioned back in 2009 by Dr Scott Drawer — head of Research and Innovation at UK Sport and both Chris Boardman and Dr Matthew Parker from British Cycling. Crux was given a brief to develop an ergonomic and futuristic helmet through the use of novel materials and rapid manufacturing to allow bespoke fits for individual athletes.

Crux began by taking 3D laser scans of the heads of individual athletes with additive manufacturing methods used to turn 3D CAD models into rapid prototypes over night. The rapid prototypes were then physically used as part of the helmet fitting process; giving the athletes confidence that their helmet fit would be flawless.

Crux developed a dual shell design, comprising an inner shell, (the made-to-measure section) which fits closely to the athlete’s head and an outer shell that is shaped for optimum performance. In the middle lies an energy absorbing, safety material sandwiched between both shells.

Extensive testing found that aluminium honeycomb, often used within the aerospace industry, worked well as a material for the helmet core. Other materials used were polycarbonate, for the visor (as seen in riot shields) along with an iridium coating to ensure the riders vision isn’t impaired. The inner and outer helmet skins are made from ABS plastic.


The scope of 3D printing as grown exponentially over the last few years and 2012 is going to be the year that we see this technology really take off in the mainstream. Five years ago it would’ve been inconceivable to think that equipment for elite athletes would be 3D printed and yet here we are with 3D printing at the forefront of producing cutting-edge sports equipment. This is only the beginning for the 3D print industry and many of the other applications for this technology, including the printing of prosthetic limbs and 3D printed MRI scans are going to be on show at the 3D Printshow in October and I would encourage everyone to come and see the mind-blowing extent of this technology:

Posted by Kerry Hogarth, Founder, 3D Printshow on 10 August 2012 at 12:07 PM

Kerry? Are you spamming my blog? I think you are aren't you??

Posted by Stephen Holmes on 10 August 2012 at 12:10 PM

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