Scientists use 3D printer to create titanium horseshoes

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The 3D printed titanium horseshoes.
The 3D printed titanium horseshoes.

Titanium shoes have been made for an Australian racehorse using 3D printing technology after the animal had its hooves scanned.

The researchers say it is the first time that three-dimensional printing technology had been used to create titanium shoes.

The horse, dubbed Titanium Prints by researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), had its hooves scanned with a handheld 3D scanner this week.

The scientists then used 3D modelling software and, from the scans, designed a set of perfect-fitting, lightweight racing shoes.

The four customised shoes were printed within only a few hours. It is understood they cost about $A600 to print.

Traditionally made from aluminium, a horseshoe can weigh up to one kilogram, but the horse’s trainer, John Moloney, says that the ultimate race shoe should be as lightweight as possible.

“Any extra weight in the horseshoe will slow the horse down.

CSIRO researcher Chad Henry, presents the new race shoes to Melbourne-based racehorse Titanium Prints.
CSIRO researcher Chad Henry, presents the new shoes to a Melbourne-based racehorse, dubbed by researchers as “Titanium Prints”.

“These titanium shoes could take up to half of the weight off a traditional aluminium shoe, which means a horse could travel at new speeds.

“Naturally, we’re very excited at the prospect of improved performance from these shoes.”

CSIRO’s titanium expert, John Barnes, said that 3D printing a racehorse shoe from titanium was a first for scientists and demonstrated the range of applications available for the technology.

“There are so many ways we can use 3D titanium printing. At CSIRO we are helping companies create new applications, like biomedical implants and even things like automotive and aerospace parts.

“The possibilities really are endless with this technology,” he said.

The precision scanning process takes just a few minutes and, for a horse, shoes can be made to measure for each hoof and printed the same day.

 

9 thoughts on “Scientists use 3D printer to create titanium horseshoes

  • October 19, 2013 at 4:30 am
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    If weight is such an important issue why dont they race barefoot, horses dont need shoes

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    • October 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm
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      Very true horses do not need shoes at all

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      • October 25, 2013 at 2:55 pm
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        Horses do need shoes if they are being worked aggressively. As their hooves will wear down at a much faster rate then a horse that is strictly used for pleasure. The shoe acts a barrier between the ground and the hoof, hence the shoe wears before the hoof protecting the horse from lameness, given the horse is shoed correctly etc.

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  • October 22, 2013 at 8:00 am
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    I agree with the two first comments: Why put shoes on the race horses at all? Take care of their hooves and keep them barefoot when at all possible!

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  • October 25, 2013 at 6:44 am
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    I worked with racehorses, the whole point of shoes is the idea of traction, and getting a good “grab” of the track surface to help with the horse pushing off on when running.

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  • October 25, 2013 at 6:46 am
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    I work with race horses and they do need shoes! the amount of work they do wears there hoofs down faster then they can grow back. horses can also get (corractave) shoeing to change there action some wear them to help with soundnis issues these are just some of many resons why horses and not just race horses need shoes I’m not saying all horses do but there are times when the are nasasary.

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  • October 25, 2013 at 7:06 am
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    Horses need support for certain reasons…do any if u people own horses?? Jumping horses need the cushion etc

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  • October 25, 2013 at 7:43 am
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    Some horses DO need shoes. Especially the miles race horses put on to be in the shape they are in. Hooves wear out so that is why shoes.
    PLUS depending on the footing, some shoes provide more traction like in jumping.
    Barefoot horses often have a pair of horse ‘boots’ to wear when the terrain is too hard or rocky. Race horses would definitely NOT run in boots.

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  • December 31, 2013 at 5:07 am
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    The race world expends milions, did you think they will expend in shoes if barefoot is the answer??? they are not idiot.

    Reply

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