How BMW’s 3D Printed Spikes Are Accelerating the World of Bobsledding


In the realm of sports, 3D printing is consistently utilised to tailor equipment for athletes, even at the most elite level. The rising importance of 3D printing has been showcased once more by the Bobsled, Luge and Skeleton Federation of Germany (BSD). Alongside their technology partner since 2010, the BMW Group, they are once again leveraging 3D printing technology in the upcoming sports season, specifically for producing 3D printed spikes for bobsleigh shoes.

The respective events are the FIL World Championships Luge happening in January 2024 and the BMW IBSF World Championships Bobsled and Skeleton earmarked for February–March 2024. In these sports, the key aspect is the speed and resulting time of the athletes, which needs to be optimised. At the FIL Luge World Championships, the “BMW Data Coach” has been utilised since 2016 because of the partnership between BSD and the BMW Group. This excellent technology records run data to recreate the athletes’ luge runs in the ice channel, providing individual recommendations to the athletes. Consequently, their riding behaviour and equipment for luge and skeleton sports are refined. Naturally, when it comes to personalisation, our perspective must shift towards additive manufacturing.

3D Printing to Guarantee Success in Bobsledding and Skeleton

The current trend in personalized adaptation of conditions to individual athletes, supported by developments in 3D printing, is prominent in sports such as the upcoming BMW IMSF Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships. Here, athletes will receive their very own 3D printed spike plates for their bobsled boots, a potentially game-changing innovation.

Additive manufacturing, the process behind 3D printing, allows for precision placement of spikes on their bobsled boots, in addition to the optimal number of teeth and struts. Simultaneously, the shoe’s weight and stiffness can be tailored to the athlete. This unique production process for the spike plates is more efficient and cost-saving compared to traditional methods. These inexpensive 3D printed spike plates can be rapidly prototyped until the perfect model is produced. Athletes also recently obtained the option to test 3D-printed spike shoes made from various materials.

Spike plate design now incorporates software which bases its production on personalized 3D scans of athletes’ shoes. It then prints spike plates tailored to the athlete, optimizing the arrangement, number, and shape of spikes, as well as shoe stiffness. This method accelerates production and boosts flexibility.

The customization of the bobsled boots is a significant factor in the athletes’ start and total run time. The spike plates located on the forefoot soles influence the initial push’s strength, hence affecting the run’s acceleration. In this process, BMW and BSD apply automotive industry technologies to enhance the spike plates for the athletes. BMW integrated 3D printing into their procedures since 1991. For more information, you can look over HERE.

3D printed spikes for bobsled shoes

What do you think of the 3D-printed bobsled spike shoes for the upcoming championships? Let us know in a comment below or on our Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

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