Wilson’s 3D-Printed Airless Basketball
The majority of basketball competitions are impeded by air pressure loss. And usually, people don’t carry an air pump with an appropriately sized needle to refill it.
According to the National Basketball Association (NBA), basketball should have air pressure between 7.5 and 8.5psi. Pounds per square inch. The basketball won’t bounce properly if the filling pressure is below the specified range and explodes if it is above the standard range.
Considering major issues, Wilson collaborated with Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) company and launched a basketball prototype, “3D-Printed Basketball,” during the 2023 NBA All-Star Game celebrations.
It is an airless ball whose entire surface is of hexagonal holes that never go flat instead of leather panels.
Calling it an airless product technology may be controversial as the air can still pass straight through it, and it just eliminates the use of air pumps to make them bounce or absorb impacts.
Before Wilson’s technology, around 12 years ago, the Bridgestone company introduced airless tires for a single-seater vehicle at Tokyo Motor Show. These airless tires comprise plastic resin layers that deform to absorb impacts while maintaining wheel shape so they can roll.
This 3D printing basketball employs a powdered resin solidified by a laser to transform into ultra-thin stacked layers and can dye in different colors. It also meets the performance standards of a regular basketball and including its weight, size, and bounce capacity.
Yet the NBA has yet to decide to switch toward Wilson’s 3D-printed basketball.