This project is not the outcome of an actual assignment. It was more the need for a certain object where you usually could not help but buy it. I assume everyone has this feeling once in a while: the part you need either does not exist; you don’t have excess to it; or it is too expensive to be bought. So we start to think how this problem could be solved by using the capabilities that are available. In most cases these are limited and unsufficient for complex tasks – but 3D Printing will change the way we look at problems we face. All of a sudden opportunities show up that facilitate the creation, the iterative improvement, and the manufacturing of partly complex structures at affordable price and at decent timely effort.
In my case I was interested in playing some rounds of golf at the course lying nearby campus. I had taken training in Germany but still I am an absolute beginner to this sport. In Germany I was not able to really improve my skills since golf courses are rarer than in the states and it is extremely expensive to play. There is no club in a walking or cycling distance from my home university and a membership is just not affordable for a student. The situation in the US and in State College is different. It still might not be the cheapest of all sports but it is definitely much easier to access and to play frequently. Of course no matter where you play a certain investment on some equipment will be required. Knowing that I won’t be able to take anything back to Germany after this exchange semester, I was looking for the cheapest way to get a couple of golf-clubs. I was lucky to purchase 4 or 5 clubs at the lion surplus for one Dollar each. What they didn’t sell there was a putter. In the shop at the golf course, putter-prices start by $80 and go up to ridiculous amounts of money, what I was definitely not willing to pay.
So I figured this could be a wonderful opportunity to try the possibilities the fused-deposition-modeling- printers in our computer lab provide me with. So I bought another club at lion surplus and cut of its head. Parallel I constructed a model in Rhino3D which I hoped can fulfill the technical requirements. Printing out this model was done fairly fast.
The size and shape of the club worked pretty well in the field trial. Nevertheless it was not possible to play on a real green with it. As the momentum is defined by mass times velocity it soon became clear that the 3D-printed club is not heavy enough to give the ball a stable acceleration. So I went on and adjusted my model in order to build it out of wood. The second design didn’t contain cross-section transitions what would go better with processing it on a CNC-mill. It is also easier to cut this model in slices and work on it with the laser-cutter. I figured for another conceptual prototype laser-cutting would be the faster alternative. So I cut four slices out of a board of wood and connected them with four 3D-Printed pins. Although I like the look of the result a lot the wooden head is still not heavy enough for a properly working putter.
The next step would be taking this very model and applying it to a piece of metal by using a CNC-mill. As far as I know the available facility in stuckman building is not made to process metal. Therefore I would turn to the learning-factory for future attempts. Unfortunately I only stay at PennState for this one and only Semester. I would love to follow this road further on and get involved with more technologies. But sure I will look out for corresponding opportunities in Germany and continue my work there.