UK tech educational group Black Country Atelier (BCA) took their 3D design and printing know-how and had some fun with their Maker Project of the Week, 3D printed footballers. The footballers aren’t life-size; they’re customized players designed to fit a foosball table, the tabletop game that features rods with paddles in the shape of players. The rods are pulled and rotated to move a ball along the tabletop field to one goal or the other.
Located in Birmingham, which hosts its own football team and horde of enthusiastic fans, BCA works closely with schools in subject areas like design, computing, and the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) areas. They also offer courses, workshops, education kits, co-teaching support, and teacher training. In essence, they’re stepping in and contributing their tech expertise.
The project was the brainchild of Mitesh “Tez” Patel, the chief creative officer at BCA. Mitesh is an industrial designer and specialized in 3D printing product design. He and his class of tech students from Sir Thomas Fremantle School collaborated to create a mini football team using scans of the students themselves. The students were taking BCA’s “Smart Product Design and Manufacture” course. Their mini team was 3D printed in yellow and the BCA staff, also scanned for the project, make up the opposition — the blue team.
They began the project by dismantling an existent foosball game, taking the players off of the rods and scanning the base of the already fabricated player so it could be carefully modeled in 3D CAD. Since the heads were going to be customized — all representing students and BCA staff — only the base needed scanning. Plus, Mitesh and his students wanted to be sure their customized footballers would still be able to hit the ball.
The scans of the students and staff were edited, cropped, and pieced together as a 3D CAD assembly and from there, a build file was created and prepped for 3D printing. There’s something a little bit comical about the solid-colored footballers; their life-like faces and heads are a bit over-sized for the bodies but the overall effect is pretty great.
I imagine this project could be adapted to a favorite team’s colors or even the individual players, although you’d probably have to be a pretty big fan to see the project through to its conclusion. Still, its a great effort that combines learning and play, so in this game everyone wins.
Would you like to create your own foosball team modeled after members of a group of your own? Let us know what you think about this project in the 3D Printed Foosball Players forum thread over at 3DPB.com.