The 3D printed wheelchair racing glove project last year, by the University of Illinois student and wheelchair racer, Arielle Rausin who created a pair for herself using 3D printing has inspired many to undertake such ventures. Raymond Jones, of Nicholasville, Kentucky he has been developing 3D printed racing gloves for his daughter Aerelle, a 17-year-old paralympic athlete. He is taking the help of his 15-year-old son Garrett to use the 3D printing technologies.
The gloves in wheelchair racing work to protect the hands of the racer and to provide a firm grip and push the chair forwards by hitting back on the wheels. Racers can greatly benefit from a custom fitted and lightweight set of gloves. The Jones family is using the 3D scanning and printing technology to develop these gloves.
The project has just started, as the Jones family is working on the manufacturing processes at The Jessamine County Public Library in Nicholasville, Kentucky. This library has a 3D printing lab equipped with scanners and some 3D printers. The library authorities have allowed them to design and develop the racing gloves. The athletes of the U.S. Paralympic team will be wearing these 3D gloves to the Rio Olympic games this year.
The racer’s hands first have to be 3D scanned, as the first step of developing the gloves. Till date, wheelchair racing gloves come in different size numbers, which do not fit well and result in blisters and cuts. By 3D scanning the racer’s hands, a custom fitted model for the gloves can be made.
The Joneses have been 3D printing the gloves out of PLA filament, which will print gloves that are one-third of the weight of regular racing gloves. The lighter glove will simplify the task of constantly maneuvering the hands back and fro. Secondly, it is a custom-designed glove, so the athlete can apply more force to the rim.
The Jones family is partnering with the Illinois University, to benefit from their resources and processes and make the 3D printed gloves more reachable to athletes all around the world.