In our last post on using software to make a more protective helmet, we discussed how we engineered a lighter helmet that’s more protective. The foundation for the best-performing hockey helmet is a combination of superior materials, software, and hardware. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), with its energy-absorbing properties, is the raw material making up our helmets. Our software is literally the brain that runs the show taking all the customer measurements and personalization requests and translating that into work for the printers. KAV defined hardware fabricates the helmet. Today, let’s explore the 3D printers we utilize to make a KAV Hockey Helmet.
Our last post “Why spend more on superior materials?” discussed raw materials and how the flexibility (pun intended) of thermoplastic polyurethanes provide the foundation for better protective gear. The challenge was how to retain the energy-absorbing benefits of TPU without any of the weight penalties.
As a naturally curious engineer, I’ve always questioned convention. In the case of helmets, the obvious question is, “Why foam?” Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) and Vinyl Nitryl (VN) foams are the standard material of choice in hockey helmets as they are inexpensive and relatively light. However, they lack durability in a sport that demands it.