A Redesigned and 3D Printed Golf ClubSeptember 30, 2021
The purpose of this project has been to leverage the flexibility and freedom given by additive manufacturing (AM) to redesign a golf club. Conventional manufacturing methods are not economical for developing customizable clubs due to tooling and machining costs which amortized across thousands of golf clubs in a typical manufacturing run. Manufacturers typically produce just a few different models targeted at golfers of different abilities. Leveraging the capabilities of AM, clubs can be customized for an individual golfer. This work seeks to build and test a golf clubhead made entirely using AM.
There have been two parts to this project that were both done in parallel.
On one side, a club was customized based on an individual golfer’s parameters. In the last decade, golf equipment manufacturers have started creating adjustable clubs. These typically allow the golfer to add or remove weights and adjust loft. This limited range of adjustability causes some golfers to use hosel weights and lead tape for finer tuning. With AM, manufacturers can develop custom made-to-order golf club designs and manufacture them in just a few days.
On the other hand a conventional golf club has been redesigned. The structure of the iron clubhead was determined using modern design techniques. Topological optimisation was used to generate an internal lattice that minimised the weight of the club while maintaining a threshold of stiffness. The resulting model represents a design with the minimum necessary material.
Both golf clubs were successfully printed within the MSAM facility: laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), a class of AM processes, was selected to manufacture the golf clubs out of Ti-64.
Two golf clubheads manufactured using LPBF: (a) a hollow hybrid clubhead, (b) an iron clubhead with an internal lattice structure