For Benn Keith and Dustin Keeling, Engineering Analysts and founders of Savage Innovations, LLC, LulzBot's 3D Printing machine uses in manufacturing have empowered them to score big points with sports teams across the country. Savage Innovations, based in Toccoa, GA, USA, fabricates custom-designed protective GPS tracking unit cases for athletes. Players wear these compact devices during practice and games to measure movement, speed, directional changes, and biometrics. “Our products need to be tough, need to be printed fast, and need minimal defects,” Keith said in regard to 3D printing in sports..
LulzBot 3D Printers Bring Rapid Manufacturing to the Gridiron
Founded in 2015, Savage Innovations began with one LulzBot Mini and one university seeking a more durable mounting system for these GPS units. The University of Alabama contracted the company to design and produce cases for the entire team on a tightly-scheduled deadline. “They called us and asked how fast we could print 50 of them,” Keith recalled. “We were printing day and night.”
After the Alabama football team claimed the National Championship that same year, other teams caught on to the obvious advantage the GPS tracking units provided on the field. By the second year, they were up to three clients, and by the third year, their customer base had grown to over 20 teams, including the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. To keep up with the growing demand, the company purchased a LulzBot TAZ 6 and upgraded their existing LulzBot Mini to a Mini 2.
High-Quality Tools Mean Deliverable Results
Having committed to manufacturing a large number of cases in a short time frame meant no room for error and equipment malfunction. For 3D printing in sports, they needed reliable, high-quality machines, and they needed them to perform like workhorses.
“In today’s additive manufacturing market, you get what you pay for,” Keith said. “LulzBot 3D Printers are ideal for us because we can put them through the rigors of actually manufacturing parts to go to market.”
Savage Innovation’s ventures are almost entirely philanthropic in nature, with 95% of its profits donated to schools, charities, and people in need. Some of their income from producing these cases is used for purchasing LulzBot 3D Printers for schools and universities to use in the classroom. As the company continues to expand its consumer base, it will also continue to expand its reach in emerging innovation for countless students, many of whom wouldn’t otherwise have had exposure to technologies like 3D printing. As more people have access to Free Software and Open Source Hardware, the possibilities for new 3D printing machine uses will exceed expectations beyond measure.
“We really appreciate LulzBot and their commitment to continuous improvement of their products,” Keith said. Not only pleased with LulzBot products, he added, “LulzBot gives us probably the best customer service we’ve experienced as a company. That gives us tremendous flexibility.”