Although we are still several months away from the kickoff of the 2015/2016 college football season, that doesn’t mean we can’t already start getting excited–after all, this will only be the second year in which the NCAA four-team playoff system will be in effect. Also for those of you itching for the NCAA football atmosphere a few months ahead of schedule, this coming weekend certainly will excite you.
It’s time to watch some spring football, as several teams will play spring games, many of which are televised. One particular game to watch on ESPN3 today is that between North Carolina State University and Florida State University. While Florida State fans will have their eyes on the possible replacement for star quarterback James Winston, who has entered the NFL Draft this year, many NC State fans be watching in hopes that the team’s awesome end to last season may carry over.
Meanwhile behind the scenes, engineers at the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) at NCSU have been working on what they feel is the perfect gift for the school’s Chancellor, Randy Woodson, to ignite some additional excitement around their football team going into today’s game. Professor Tim Horn at ISE’s Center for Additive Manufacturing and Logistics (CAMAL) 3D printed a full-size football bearing the logo of the NCSU Woofpack.
The football, which isn’t a dinky plastic creation from a typical FDM or FFF 3D printer, was in fact created on one of the center’s most sophisticated and expensive printers, an Arcam EBM (Electron Beam Melting) machine, using titanium powder. Typically such a machine is used in the medical industry to fabricate implants for procedures such as knee replacements, but the team, led by Horn, couldn’t resist the opportunity to print something special for their Chancellor.
The printing process, which takes place in a vacuum, relying on an electron beam to sinter titanium powder layer-by-layer, took an estimated 24 hours and came out just phenomenal. With an intricate, woven, chain-like pattern which resembles the leather texture found on an actual pigskin, and with laces and a logo which pop right on out at you, it is probably one of the coolest pieces of football memorabilia that Chancellor Randy Woodson will ever have the opportunity of displaying in his box at Carter Finley Stadium. And that’s just where it’s headed, right alongside three other real footballs presented to him by coach Dave Doeren, and former coach Tim O’Brien, which he keeps on display in his box.
Although there is no practical use for this 3D printed football, it’s certainly an amazing display of what this technology is capable of. Without the use of 3D printing, neither this football nor anything even remotely similar could have been fabricated.
Are you an NC State fan? Will you be watching the Wolfpack take on the Seminoles today? Let us know your thoughts on this football. Discuss in the 3D Printed NC State Football forum thread on 3DPB.com.