When Lionel Messi received his 8th Ballon d’Or nomination, Adidas wanted to gift him something special. However, the company didn’t just want its gift to be unique, but wanted the packaging to be unique, as well. So, the sporting goods giant turned to WASP, an Italian 3D printing company, to create a truly novel container for Messi, and what they made is stunning.
Now, Adidas is no stranger to 3D printing. The company has embraced the technology to develop a Smart Factory to manufacture some of the most efficient running shoes on the planet. This time, however, Adidas was going to use the technology to build a one-of-a-kind package and honor Messi’s achievement.
Adidas had initially reached out to WASP after Messi’s 2023 Ballon d’Or nomination, looking for a company that could turn its concept into reality, and produce a shoebox that would contain a limited edition pair of shoes made specifically for Messi. The sporting goods firm wanted the shape to be inspired by a soccer ball and challenged WASP’s engineers to design one. What the 3D printer manufacturer came up with was a dodecahedron style box, seen below, and I think they bent it like Beckham.
The box was printed in four pieces: top, bottom, cover, and shoe platform, and assembled after. The dodecahedron was made from WASP’s nylon carbon and WASP used their 4070 ZX professional FDM 3D printer to build each part. The printer took over 200 hours non-stop to print the packaging, and features Messi’s and Adidas’s logos on the shell.
The printer itself is quite impressive too. It contained all-metal double gear extruders which WASP says can offer twice the grip and three times the force compared to common extruders, uses Vacuum active Control (VAC) to reduce micromovements during printing, and has a large build volume that can accommodate most builds.
All in all, this was a neat project Adidas commissioned WASP to build, and I love the ingenuity taken. It shows off the capabilities 3D printing can offer, and created a truly one-of-a-kind present for Messi.
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