Wilson Posts Up With 3D-Printed Basketball of the Future

Wilson partnered with EOS for the special basketball.

Wilson partnered with EOS for the special basketball.

Wilson’s 3D-printed airless basketball prototype photographed bouncing in white powder against a black background. Image courtesy of Wilson.

Wilson has been perfecting its game in the redesign of the basketball with a prototype that’s covered in an intricate pattern of holes but never goes flat. Its technology replaces the need for pressurized bladders in objects designed to bounce or absorb impacts, according to the company.

Making of the Wilson Airless Prototype Basketball

Wilson partnered with EOS, a company which specializes in use of 3D printing for industrial uses, to manufacture the unorthodox basketball design that’s covered in a pattern of open hexagons instead of sealed leather panels.

EOS used additive 3D printing technology which uses a powdered resin that’s hardened by a laser to create ultra-thin stacked layers with more detail. The result is a hollow basketball that nearly matches the “performance specifications of a regulation basketball, including its weight, size and rebound (bounce).” The 3D-printed ball can be dyed in various colors, with the prototype being made black for its debut during the 2023 NBA All-Star Game festivities in late February.

The NBA currently doesn’t have plans to switch to Wilson’s 3D-printed airless basketball design. But Wilson plans to continue to develop and improve its design. And even if it never finds its way into the NBA, it may help make the game more accessible on playground courts across the country where pick-up games will never have to be canceled because no one can find a pump to fix a flat ball.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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