3D Printing

3D printed pistol grip at shooting championships

18th May 2021
Alex Lynn

Céline Goberville, an Olympic silver medallist and multiple world champion will compete at the European Shooting Championships in Croatia this year with a 3D printed pistol grip, printed on the Zortrax M300 Dual 3D printer. 

This custom-made, ergonomic grip has been designed and manufactured by Athletics 3D, a French company specialising in sports gear for professional athletes, that works with an entire farm of Zortrax 3D printers.

Céline Goberville competes in ten-metre air pistol shooting, a discipline where the shooter has to fire over 60 shots within a time limit of one hour and fifteen minutes. This means the shooting position has to be assumed and held for quite a long time. Badly fitted pistol grip can wear down the shooting hand which, in turn, lowers the accuracy. That’s why Céline and her sister Sandrine, who is also a competitive shooter and a multiple French national champion, turned to Athletics 3D to get pistol grips custom-made specifically for them.

“When it comes to fitting a pistol grip, some athletes go for a heavily scientific approach that involves precise measurements and state-of-the-art research in biomechanics. Me and my sister, on the other hand, shoot on feel. The pistol is right when it feels right on the shooting range. This is why we tested multiple prototypes, each slightly different from the others, during our trainings. Overall, I believe technology is responsible for 30% to 40% of the final result in competitive ten-metre air pistol shooting.”  said Goberville.

Both Céline and Sandrine Goberville shoot with CM 162el air pistols made by the Swiss company Morini. A standard grip of the CM 162el is made of walnut and serves as a housing for batteries and control electronics. This presented a challenge for Athletics 3D, because apart from ergonomically shaped exterior, the design team had to think about internal architecture as well. The problem was solved with the M300 Dual 3D printer capable of printing interchangeably with two materials.

The grip was 3D printed with Z-ULTRAT, an enhanced ABS blend offered by Zortrax, and support structures were made with Z-SUPPORT Premium, a polymer soluble in water. With this technology, supports could be dissolved and rinsed from inside of the grip which enabled Athletics 3D to accurately recreate the original internal architecture.

“Céline has proven time and time again that she is perfectly capable of winning European Championships whole tournament. This is why we used Zortrax 3D printing technology in making custom equipment for her. We could cost-effectively iterate through multiple prototypes and get the design just right. At the highest level of competition, the difference between winning and losing often boils down to tiny details and marginal gains. After the European Championships we will draw our conclusions and have just enough time for adjustments before the Summer Olympics in Tokyo,” added Clement Jacquelin, Chief Designer and CEO of Athletics 3D.

The European Shooting Championships are scheduled to take place on May 22nd to June 5th, 2021, in Osijek, Croatia. After the tournament, Céline Goberville will have a little rest and start preparing for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo which she has already qualified for.

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