The events leading up to 3D printing our first stainless steel club, literally revolved around the center of gravity. The first polymer models were theoretical estimations of the shapes necessary to complete this task. These physical models were invaluable in accessing the overall form and aesthetics however, the errors and omissions when adding additional clubs was obvious, and multiple versions ensued.
The result was a simple design with the wrong center of gravity! I think it was more aesthetics than function (actually an accident) but adding weight in an unconventional location corrected the problem. Now we had a model that did not look like every other club. A distinctive triangular cavity incorporated into the original simple design creating a progression of clubs with a distinct personality. We needed to test them. Creating a hittable sample was a necessity.
Unlike 300.00/head for SLA printing, a playable steel club head was much more expensive, 2,150.00 to be exact. We assumed the prices would drop in the future, potentially making it a viable production method some day, but we needed a hittable version now.
The technique for 3D printing steel is different than SLA. It is call SLS or DMLS. In this process, powdered metal is deposited in layers then heated by laser or other heat source, coalescing these particles into a solid steel mass. Like SLA this is done in layers with each one added to the next. The resulting 3D stainless steel prototype would be essentially identical to our finished product.
We had our club and now were waiting on Ecomass. Then we got the call. You know the call. The one after midnight when all your family should be sound asleep. It was never good. Apparently a twenty million dollar military project took precedence over our club. They no longer had any interest in our program, or so was the story.
© EQUSGolf 2016
“The strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events.”
Regaining momentum after a nine month hiatus was difficult at best. To break the boredom and monotony of the standard micro-management, of a newly acquired heart, was a challenge. Momentum is a fleeting force. We had it, we lost it and just like that the outcome to our iron development project was in jeopardy.