Sports Equipment Made with Zortrax Ecosystem Goes to Tokyo Olympics

  • Celine Goberville won the bronze medal at the European Shooting Championships using a pistol grip 3D printed on Zortrax M300 Dual 3D printer.
  • Zortrax Apoller has been used to make the grip's surface smoother ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
  • Tokyo Olympics start on Friday, July 23, 2021.

Celine Goberville, a French 10 m air pistol shooter, won a bronze medal at the European Shooting Championships with a pistol grip 3D printed on the Zortrax M300 Dual. For Celine, the event was the last final test before the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Here’s how she fared in the finals and how the grip’s design evolved based on the conclusions her team drew analyzing her performance.

Staying in the Lead

Championship level female 10 m air pistol shooting competitions are done in two stages. The first is a qualification stage where participants have to fire 60 shots within 75 minutes. The athletes with top eight scores qualify for the finals. In the finals there are 24 shots fired. The first ten shots are taken in two series of five. Once this is done, all further shots are fired separately on following a command given by the referee. After each two shots, the athlete with the lowest score is eliminated.

French team at the European Shooting Championships 2021 in Croatia. Source: Athletics 3D.

Celine easily made it to the finals with 576 points which was the fourth best score in the qualification stage. And in the finals, she quickly proved why she is a multiple world champion.

After the first series of 5 shots, she was leading the pack with 51.5 points – 1.4 points ahead of Carina Wimmer representing Germany and 1.9 points ahead of Victoria Chaika representing Belarus. Her lead continued on in the second series of five shots. Celine was still in the first place, but Wimmer managed to close the gap separating them to just 0.3 points. There was also a change on the third place with Russia’s Vtialina Batsarashkina taking it from Belarusian shooter, loosing only 1.1 points to the leader. With Celine on the lead, the contest entered its most tense, elimination stage.

Celine Goberville training for the European Championships. Source: Athletics 3D.

Nigar Nasirova, representing Azerbaijan, was the first to get dropped out of the competition and ended up with the 8th place. Next to go were Georgia’s Nina Salukvadze, Belarusian Viktoria Chaika, Armenia’s Elmira Karapetyan.

At this point, Celine had the third place and entered an elimination shootout with Ukraine’s Olena Kostevych. It was not particularly threatening as she had a firm 2.3 points advantage over the Ukrainian. Despite that, Celine still had a better, 10.5 points, shot than Kostevych, who scored 10.1. This way, Celine Goberville had secured bronze medal.

Celine Goberville with the bronze medal won at the European Shooting Championships. Source: Athletics 3D.

In the next elimination shootout she lost to Wimmer, who later proceeded to win the entire tournament, beating Batsarashkina in a race for the gold medal.

Smoothing the Grip

“The European championship was the last major tournament before the Olympics and, once back home, we got back to the drawing board to improve Celine’s 3D printed pistol grip”, says Clement Jacquelin, the CEO of Athletics 3D, a company that made the custom pistol grip Celine Goberville is currently using.

Final design of the pistol grip Celine Goberville will use at Tokyo Olympics.

According to Jacquelin, design changes in such equipment are often dictated by preference, rather than science.

Pistol grips Celine Goberville took to the Tokyo Olympics have been smoothed in Zortrax Apoller SVS device.

“In shooting sports, there are top-level athletes who prefer the grip rough. This way, they told me, they could hold it firmly with no worries about the weapon slipping away from their hands. Celine, however, thinks differently. She wants the grip to be as smooth as possible. So, the changes we made to the grip after the championship went in that direction – we were working to make it as smooth as possible. And to achieve this we used the Zortrax Apoller SVS post-processing device”, says Jacquelin. 

SVS Smoothing Workflow

The engineering team working at Athletics 3D began with 3D printing the grip once again using the same Zortrax M300 Dual 3D printer. At this point, there were no changes in the geometry. The only parameter about to change was the smoothness of the surface. So, the grips were printed with the same combination of Z-ULTRAT and Z-SUPPORT Premium.

Once the grip was made, the team started a two-stage smoothing process. In the first stage, the grip was manually sanded with sand paper.

Pistol grips smoothed in the Apoller. The grip prior to smoothing on the left. The smoothed grip on the right.

Once the sanding was done, it was placed in the Apoller for chemical smoothing with acetone vapors.

“The grip has a few more precise parts, especially at places where it is attached to the barrel and where internal batteries and electronics fit in. One of the key reasons behind using the Apoller for this project was that it can vary the amount of solvent applied to different areas of the model. This way, the grip was properly smoothed and all the necessary details were kept intact with unchanged dimensions and geometry”, claims Jacquelin.

Zortrax Apoller could smooth the grips without deforming their intricately detailed internals meant to house batteries and electronics.

Once the smoothing was done, the grip was painted and the Athletics 3D logo was stamped on it.

Getting Ready for the Olympics

“Once we got the process right to achieve the desired surface finish, we made another, spare grip in the exact same way”, says Jacquelin. 

The spare grip was necessary since there is always a risk of sports equipment getting damaged in transit or during the competition.

“I think it’s just another advantage of using 3D printers in such projects. You have a digital base of models saved on your hard drive or in the cloud and you can recreate each one of them in no time when necessary. And quite often it proves necessary because we’ve had multiple cases where the equipment got damaged  by rough, careless handling at the airport”, says Jacquelin.  

Celine Goberville is currently training with the revised, smoother pistol grips. According to Jacquelin, there are going to be no further design changes before the Olympics.

End-use grip attached to the Celine Goberville’s air pistol.

“We have the final design nailed. At this point, Celine needs to familiarize herself with the grip, train with it as much as she could and feel at ease with using it. She says she’s perfectly happy with our work. Further design changes will be considered after the Olympics. For now, we are happy with what we have done and aiming for Olympic gold”, says Jacquelin. 

The Summer Olympics in Tokyo start on July 23 and conclude on August 8, 2021. Follow Zortrax Official Blog to see if Celine Goberville managed to win a medal!