Simple, Great Idea

Hockey is Made Safer With 3D Printed Antibacterial Gloves


If you’ve ever avoided playing sports because of the germ ridden borrowed sports equipment, there may now be a solution to your nightmare.

Student and industrial designer, Ryan Fackelman has developed a 3D printed hockey glove which includes antimicrobials while working on his graduate thesis.

“I’ve played sports all my life, mostly hockey (22 years).  Knowing that hockey equipment smells and rarely gets washed, there is a higher percentage of bacteria buildign up in the equipment.  I wanted to find an easy way for hockey players to wash their equipment, gloves in particular,” he said in an interview with “I wanted to design a glove that would have an inner liner that could be taken out and be washed separately, the liner would also contain antimicrobial agents to kill off bacteria.”

This innovative approach shows that it is actually rather easy to combat the problem of notoriously dirty sports equipment with antimicrobial agents that inhibit bacterial growth.

“Antimicrobial medicines can be grouped according to the microorganisms they act primarily against. For example, antibacterials are used against bacteria and anti-fungals are used against fungi. By integrating antimicrobial agents into sports equipment, lowers the chances of any health risks that bacteria can cause to a player,” Ryan explained.

This interesting glove concept was being developed for his graduate project. Being a SolidWorks specialist, 3D printing was an obvious choice.

“I’ve 3D printed a few things in ABS and PLA, but I wanted this glove to be durable and flexible. I searched the web and talked to a few sources, and came across NinjaFlex,” he explains. “While being at the Rochester Institute of Technology I wanted to take advantage of the 3D lab and resources I had at my disposal, but the printers that we hand were unable to print NinjaFlex.  We could not get the setting to work properly with the material. My professor at the time knew someone that had their own 3D printer and had great success with printing NinjaFlex.”

The 3D printed glove was separated into a different sections: a main glove body, the wrist cuff, and separate 2

“The ability to 3D scan your hands and get custom fitted gloves that are 3D printed, being able to reprint individual pads on your glove instead of buying a whole new pair, and lowering the manufacturing costs. 3D printing would make a great impact in the sporting world!” Ryan enthused.

How else do you think 3D printing could change the sporting world?