3D printing has been possible for well over a decade now. However, it was primitive in its first applications. 3D printing was reserved for relatively frail plastics like PLA and ABS.
Despite best efforts, this reserved 3D printing to merely rapid prototyping in the golf industry. Recent advances have enabled 3D printing methods that allow for printing metal.
Cobra has utilized these new 3D printing methods in its new line of golf clubs. Cobra has teamed up with Hewlett Packard (HP) to 3D print the inserts on the Cobra RadSpeed irons.
HP has pioneered metal jet printing. This printing does not require much post-process finishing beyond heating the part afterward to better bind the metal.
The 3D printing process allows for shapes and voids that are impossible with classical forging or casting methods. The auto industry has already taken advantage of 3D printing by constructing parts with internal structures to save weight and improve strength.
The ability to construct complex lattice structures is a clear advantage of 3D printing. Cobra uses this structure on its newest putters to make the largest MOI possible without sacrificing rigidity. Hence, all of Cobra’s new putters have a very unique and satisfying appearance.
Putters were always seen by many as the most logical choice for 3D printing. Metal jet printing is very strong, but it is not as strong yet as forged components. Irons and woods require high strength from impacts.
Putters do not experience high impacts, so the strength discrepancy is not an issue. We even predicted that putters would be excellent for 3D printing technology in THIS video!
3D printing also opens up huge possibilities for the future of golf equipment.
Since every putter is printed individually, it can easily be customized. Future clubs could even be custom-made for individual golfers.
Coupled with AI technology and machine learning, this would open the door significantly to maximum performance-enhancing equipment.