Hot from the press: the world’s first custom fit biathlon rifle to come out a 3D printer. The global market leader was so impressed that we became partners.
For decades, Anschütz has been the undisputed market leader in biathlon rifles. For 97% of all biathletes worldwide, Anschütz is their sports rifle of choice.
But first signs of crumbling market shares on the rifle stock itself posed a cause for concern. Indeed, the creation of a new stock had not seen any evolution, let alone innovation, in many years anywhere in the world.
Users were calling for a more customisable approach towards their rifles’ production. But there was a small problem: traditional manufacturing methods do not allow for fast iterations during product development. And individually designed lightweight stocks are something only professionals can afford.
We tasked ourselves with the disruption and innovation of the traditional product development process. A generative 3D printing process using selective laser sintering (SLS) enabled us to produce a lightweight plastic stock in a single piece, which we then harmonised with the Anschütz rifle system.
Water-transfer printing then made it easy for us to add the most complex of patterns, artwork, and other designs to the shape-optimized rifle stock. With the help of computer simulation, we were also able to conduct weight tests and assist design finding and bionic design processes.
We are now capable of transferring an individual’s hand anatomy to the digital model to achieve a unique rifle stock using latest photogrammetry techniques and cloud computing. By creating the ability to produce a 100% custom fit one-of-a-kind piece of sports equipment with exchangeable modules, Anschütz and umlaut’s partnership has cumulated in the next generation of biathlon rifles.
The process proved to offer great flexibility and freedom in making highly complex and powerful biathlon rifles. In addition, the 3D scan of the anatomy in conjunction with 3D printing now also opens up the completely new business opportunity of mass-customisation. Now, a product previously available only to a selected few athletes can also be enjoyed by other athletes of all ages, locations and proficiency levels.