Most of us are engaged in all the typical details and plans that we follow every year for the Super Bowl. While we might add a little extra zip to the dip for the buffalo wings, we’re still making sure to have all the typical customs covered for the day of the game. Jerseys ready? Refrigerator in the garage stocked? Are we already well-versed in who is performing at half-time, as well as singing the national anthem?
Year after year, the only thing that’s not predictable with my family and friends is who will win. For this game, however, Panthers’ All-Pro linebacker Thomas Davis will be sporting something new out on the field, in the form of a 3D printed arm brace, meant to reinforce the work done to his arm which has been rebuilt with a metal plate and twelve screws.
Obviously, with this being the Super Bowl, Davis’ arm has been well monitored, and he has been doing very well in practices by all accounts, with the 3D printed brace which was his choice among several different other options.
“Thomas Davis is already the ‘bionic man’ in our book,” said Scott Perone of 3-D Elite, who, along with WhiteClouds 3D Printing, created the one-of-a-kind brace that Davis will wear on Sunday to play in the Super Bowl. “This personalized 3D brace lined with Poron XRD makes him a bit more indestructible.”
“It was a light [practice] day, but I took every opportunity to hit it on something,” stated Davis.
WhiteClouds, responsible for supervising the construction of the 3D printed brace, is a formidable company that indeed defines innovation, and we’ve covered their progress more than once before—from projects with NASA, to expansion plans, to recent acquisitions. For this project, they pulled off quite the feat in designing, engineering, 3D printing, and delivering the arm brace in a very short period. Within eight hours, they had the piece completely engineered, and then it was printed within 30 hours on a Stratasys Connex 3D printer.
The team at WhiteClouds constructed the brace with stiff plastic and rubber-like materials, allowing for a device that is firm but flexible, and can handle the substantial amount of shock absorption required for someone like Davis. Internally, the brace is soft and spongy to add comfort—and even more shock absorption. Holes allow for ventilation, and also allow for a more lightweight form. Extra foam padding encases the entire brace, and very importantly—it is taped to the player so as to match the Panther’s team colors.
Although Davis’ arm fracture is indeed still healing, it’s hoped that he will actually be playing in this year’s Super Bowl.
“When the doctors say he’s 100 percent, I’ll go with it,” said Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera. Davis could then become the first NFL player to wear a 3D printed piece of equipment in a game.
Broncos beware! Does anyone on your team have the power of 3D printing behind them? I live in Colorado, and having lived in several other states I speak with experience when I say that I have never seen a state with so many enthusiastic and proud residents and fans. If the Broncos do not win the Super Bowl, it will be a sad, sad scene here for a while. Knowing now that they have the Bionic Man to contend with is slightly worrisome! Discuss your thoughts on Davis’ hi-tech device in the 3D Printed Arm Brace for Thomas Davis forum over at 3DPB.com.