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back to article Oz racehorse shod with 3D-printed titanium hoofwear

Oz boffins have used 3D printing to produce a custom-made set of titanium shoes for a Melbourne racehorse - an example of the "endless possibilities" of the technology. A team from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) used a handheld scanner to image the horse's hooves, ran the result through …

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If only someone had told them..

...horses have four legs.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: If only someone had told them..

Interestingly, the photos don't show the rear of the horse, so...

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Re: If only someone had told them..

Having just read Charles Stross' "Equoid" this half-horse comment raises further disturbing mental images and also the thought that horse shoes made of lead might be safer...

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Re: If only someone had told them..

The front legs take about 50% more weight than the rear so maybe they race without rear shoes.

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Happy

Re: If only someone had told them..

"This is one side of a horse. the other side is much the same."

N. Molesworth.

As any fule kno...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If only someone had told them..

Of course the rear tires (I mean hooves) will need a different design for better traction.

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Happy

Re: If only someone had told them..

Ideal footware for El Fideldo, who was Lobey Dosser's faithful steed in Calton Creek.

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Headmaster

Re: If only someone had told them..

> "This is one side of a horse. the other side is much the same."

>

> N. Molesworth.

>

> As any fule kno...

Actually one side is the nearside and one is the offside

There are many differences

As any horse owner knows...

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Bronze badge

Re: If only someone had told them..

> As any horse owner knows...

they would also know that horse shoes, or racing plates, are sold in pairs as the front and rear are different sizes.

And that shoes are available in Titanium and aplastic, besides the ubiquitous steel and aluminium.

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Gold badge
Thumb Up

Wow.

People expect Titanium being used in "hi tech" sports but not something like horse racing

3D printing has all sorts of obvious uses, depending on the quality of the object you can make.

I suspect it's ultimately going to be the ones we did not foresee (like a horse shoe perfectly matched to each individual hoof) that will be the biggest market.

Thumbs up for doing something old in a whole new way.

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Silver badge

Re: Wow.

"like a horse shoe perfectly matched to each individual hoof"

That would indeed be quite a miraculous advance. And it only takes a few hours for technology to create such wonders. We've certainly come a long way!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farrier

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Re: Wow.

and the other half of the farriers job is trimming the hoof itself. Now I appreciate that part of the trimming is to help it fit the shoe, so arguably that part becomes unnecessary, but the other purpose of the trimming is also just general "hoof care" so will still be needed.

<serious comment in reply to delightfully subtle sarcastic one!>

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wow.

I suspect it's ultimately going to be the ones we did not foresee (like a horse shoe perfectly matched to each individual hoof) that will be the biggest market.

May not have forseen horse shoes ... but R4 prog talking about 3d printing and custom manufacturing (probably "In Business") featured an item a couple of years ago about using 3d printing to produce insoles for running shoes that exactly matched your foot using the same principles as this. Think the person doing this thought that this was probably going to be limited to top athletes etc but he definitely saw the prospect of just printing the heal part of the insole in shops when you bought high end running shoes in the not too distant future

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FAIL

Re: Wow.

!!!

He's not trimming the hoof to "fit the shoe" to it, he's trimming the hoof because with shoes on, hoofs don't wear out like they are supposed to, the hoof eventually splits, the horse goes lame or gets laminitis, finally a certain K.Nacker has to be called.

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Silver badge

Re: Wow.

"and the other half of the farriers job is trimming the hoof itself. Now I appreciate that part of the trimming is to help it fit the shoe, so arguably that part becomes unnecessary"

Umm, not really. Horseshoes are tailored specifically to fit a horse: A foot is not trimmed to fit.

What a farrier does is mostly metalworking, combined with a bit of wrangling, and essentially cutting toenails. They're more blacksmiths than chiropodists.

Having 3D laser-printed custom horseshoes is essentially a gimmick: Using a machine to mimic part of a skilled artisan's work isn't really an advance. And as well as hoof care, the shoe still needs to be properly attached by a farrier anyway.

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Impressive

I always thought this type of 3d printing was quite brittle, but there are some serious forces applied to a horses shoe when it's running.

Does anyone else read articles like this and think "Fuck yeah! I'm livin' in the future!"?

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Silver badge

Re: Impressive

Selective Laser Sintered titanium parts have very respectable mechanical properties, hence their use in aerospace and motorsport applications.

Still, there isn't enough detail in the article to inform me as to why this workflow is better than taking impressions (in clay or whatever suitable material) of the horse's hooves to create a mould.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Impressive

Or how about a 3D milling machine using the scan to trim a suitable sized blank and retain the full properties of the cast/forged/heat-treated/whatever metal?

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Silver badge

Re: Impressive

Except ANY suitable blank for a subtractive process would be subtracting MOST of the metal (given the U shape of the finished product with LOTS of space in between). Not to mention the interior parts of the horseshoe itself where machining can only remove so much material with its given bit set. That's one of the beauties of the additive process. You can build up fine-but-strong structures in ways no subtractive process can duplicate. Not to mention it doesn't waste so much metal (both in the base block and in too wear and tear).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Impressive

"Or how about a 3D milling machine using the scan to trim a suitable sized blank and retain the full properties of the cast/forged/heat-treated/whatever metal?"

Why not just heat it up and bash fuck out of it with a hammer until it fits.

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Anonymous Coward

the James Cameron colour palette

Looking at the colour of those horse shoes, are you sure they weren't designed for those six legged horse creatures from Avatar?

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This stuff is so cool. The universal replicator of science fiction, which can make anything you'd want, are almost around the corner.

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Coat

Neigh sayers

This should put an end to shod-dy workmanship. Hoof-its these things anyway.

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Happy

Re: Neigh sayers

Faye-B-lous punning there. Well done, here's your hat too.

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Anonymous Coward

So the lightweight shoes make the horse faster. The horse wins races and is given weights to slow it down.

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But the weights will be added to the saddle of the horse, not the ends of it's feet, which might well make them easier to carry.

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"endless possibilities"

They are not endless they are severely limited to :-

Few off manufacturing where setup and tooling costs and or time make expensive 3D printing economical and attractive.

A very few 'things' with internal structures which simply can't be manufactured with conventional machining, casting or sub-component assembly.

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Happy

I'll bet ...

I'll bet the cartridges for this printer make my inkjet look affordable

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More weight could be saved

Just by having horse and jockey take a healthy dump prior to the race start.

One of my mates believes in this theory, and places bets on any horse he sees drop a steamer before it goes into the starting gates. Its a surprisingly effective betting scheme that has earned him just as much as any other system in place.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More weight could be saved

Usually the jockeys don't have much to dump prior to the race, given their dietary regimens to drop weight prior to the race.

As for the horse, that's a delicate balance, as the horse needs the food to produce the necessary energy to run the race, but one doesn't want to wait too long or else the nutrition isn't used properly. It would be interesting to see if waiting until the horse dumps would be too late in this regard.

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Re: More weight could be saved

"Its a surprisingly effective betting scheme that has earned him just as much as any other system in place."

The most effective is of course to be part of the 'in' group who generally knows which horse is going to win before the formality of the race itself starts.

Unless you happen to be mates with a trainer, the horses are generally a mugs game.

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With all this talk about 'living' plastic

I'm starting to wonder if el Reg has been taken over by the Autons and Lester is desperately trying to get the word out before he's replaced by something disturbingly shiny and emotionless.

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