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3D Printer Horse Tack... Will it happen?

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  • 3D Printer Horse Tack... Will it happen?

    Would any horse tack made this way actually work?

    I think bridles, reins, stirrup leathers might work.

    Possibly tall boots , paddock boots .

    I can't see a saddle being manufactured that way lasting for very long.

    Thoughts?
    Certified Guacophobe

  • #2
    Anything made out of a 3D printer is made from whatever liquid goo the printer shoots, which is going to be some form of plastic. Anything made out of plastic like bell boots, buckets, reins if you like.

    I don't think the printer can make things out of complex components or natural materials.

    Comment


    • #3
      Actually, you can 3-D print in any material that starts as a powder or a liquid and turns into a solid. So the company I worked for who invented 3-D printing 30 years ago printed in two hundred different materials. Metals plastics rubber concrete chocolate salt wood sugar - you name it.

      You can print on fabric, and you can print in space. You can print complex articulated materials, multi colored prints, and you can print a matrix which allows living cells to grow on it and create organs that can be transplanted. There a printers which will also print in multiple materials and go from one material to another or gradient between them as well.

      The technology and speed of printing is increasing rapidly, but as of right now while there are many unique applications for 3-D printing, I don’t believe that there is a material which accurately represents the function of leather.

      That’s not to say that a leather like substance could not be developed, and 3-D printed in. However it is worth noting that each 3-D print of a bridle for example would be extremely expensive compared to a leather or synthetic bridle. What’s great about 3-D printing is extremely complex, articulated prints can be made, each one unique. Perfect for rapid prototyping. It’s not so great for mass production yet though due to the cost.

      However, I’ve always thought a good application for 3-D printing would be to 3-D scan a horses back and create a unique custom plastic 3-D printed tree for the saddler to build a saddle around. I don’t know why someone hasn’t started doing that yet.

      Comment


      • #4
        Even if it could happen would be be realistic? I can't see it being a better option than current industry standard.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think it will have applications more along the lines of Xanthoria's saddle tree suggestion, or maybe being able to print bit mouthpieces to custom fit individual horses. There are ways that 3D printing can help move industries forward even without creating entire products that way. I don't see it replacing more traditional manufacturing for a lot of items, but maybe making some components or helping in development/customization.
          Flickr

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
            Anything made out of a 3D printer is made from whatever liquid goo the printer shoots, which is going to be some form of plastic. Anything made out of plastic like bell boots, buckets, reins if you like.

            I don't think the printer can make things out of complex components or natural materials.
            You can print food with a 3-D printer. The U.S. Army has been doing it for years!

            https://www.theverge.com/2014/8/5/59...d-printed-food
            "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White

            Comment


            • #7
              Ok all very cool, and I learned something. I like the idea of back templates!

              Comment


              • #8
                Xanthoria - love the back template idea.

                My Get Rich Quick idea is to create harness for driving horses that goes on like those slap bracelets
                Maybe 3D printing could aid with the complicated attachment pieces like holdbacks & shaft wraps.
                All in 3D biothane, of course ​​​​​​​
                *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                Comment


                • #9
                  Excellent post snipped for brevity.

                  Originally posted by Xanthoria View Post

                  However, I’ve always thought a good application for 3-D printing would be to 3-D scan a horses back and create a unique custom plastic 3-D printed tree for the saddler to build a saddle around. I don’t know why someone hasn’t started doing that yet.
                  You could do this with an industrial router (if that would be the correct term for a machine that would shape a block of wood into a given form). If the saddle were to be a laminate or have metal components you could do each layer/part individually and then assemble them into the final form.

                  Wood rifle stocks for service weapons, such as the 1903 Springfield Rifle and M1 Garand rifle, were made this way. Here's an example of how it's done. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q03R2oV9fVE

                  I presume other wood products can be made the same way.

                  The problem I see is that a tree that fits correctly at rest is a tree that doesn't fit correctly in motion. So the tree has to have "give" so that it responds appropriately to the rider's weight and conformation and to the conformation of the horse's back as it changes through motion. We help the tree out with padding or other systems to help distribute weight. Doing that with a single piece of material sounds difficult.

                  If you could do layers in plastic, as can be done with wood laminate, and reinforce it as appropriate with metal or appropriate plastic then maybe you're onto something.*

                  G.

                  *There are, literally, dozens of tree systems that range from solid, wood blocks to complex, mobile contraptions that try to achieve effective weight distribution through "flexibility." History has shown the more part you make the tree out of the more likely one of those parts will break. The more "flexible" the tree the higher the probability of both breakage AND failure to effectively distribute weight. Sadly, this is not something that can be easily solved by "technology."



                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Some of the plastics used in 3-D printing have high tensile strength, and there are also elastomeric polymers which would have a useful application for some parts of a saddle build. I really think it’s possible to 3-D scan a back and then 3-D print a saddle tree with adjustments for flexibility as you say. The technology is there, now, in its current state, as opposed to some of the emerging applications for 3-D printing which aren’t quite on point yet .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                      Xanthoria - love the back template idea.
                      :
                      I want a device that you can put under your saddle and ride for a while, then have a 3D printer create a pad to make it a perfect fit.
                      "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

                      "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I love my Wintec saddles and it does not seem out of the realm of future possibility to 3D print the materials to assemble one.
                        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Supakwe View Post
                          Even if it could happen would be be realistic? I can't see it being a better option than current industry standard.
                          Ummmm...are there any industry standards for saddle trees?

                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hopefully I can shed some light on the subject. I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Qualified Saddler Fitter with the Society of Master Saddlers, so I know of little of both worlds. However I do not know anything more than the average person about 3D printing.

                            There is tree standards, however not everyone follows them. Most are just company dependent. The Society of Master Saddlers has the standards that all companies that manufacture under their label have to follow. It includes rivet strength and placement, tolerances, etc.

                            It is actually really hard to develop a tree out of different material and very costly. The tree has to be very strong but yet flexible enough. I know of one company that has spent 4 or 5 years trying to find the right material for an adjustable tree. The forces that go into the saddle are actually very high. If it is not flexible enough, it just breaks under the forces ie too ridged/stiff. However it also has to be very strong. By the way, flexible is probably not what you are thinking about it. I do not like the idea of the new saddles that are claiming to be "flexing" with the horse or adjust to individual horse. Most of the recent studies are showing horse's like stability in their saddles.

                            It would be lovely to be able to take a template of the horse's back and make a tree for it. However, there is a reason why we do both a static and a dynamic part of a saddle fitting. Too many horses do not like the saddle that looks the best when they are standing there in the cross ties.
                            Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
                            www.thesaddlefits.com
                            Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Fitter

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Kieffer has been making adjustable plastic trees for many years which are thermoformed. I am sure they’re not the only ones using plastic trees.

                              That said as somewhat of an expert on 3-D printing, having worked with the inventor of 3-D printing for the last 6+ years, and with access to many material scientists on my end, I can tell you that there will be a plastic which will perform exactly as needed available now. I can just about guarantee it, because we print in so many plastics, including nylon, and carbon fiber wrapped nylon. I would expect that some kind of combination of those would be be worth exploring. The required strength, flexibility, hardness and other values of each material are easy to find out and compare to extant saddle tree materials.

                              And the whole point of 3-D printing a saddle tree is that you can 3-D scan a horses back using a handheld 3-D scanner available now, generate a 3D file using that scan and if needed adjust the file so that it will fit a horse in motion. Print and install it. I mean, what do you do now with a standard saddle tree if it doesn’t fit the horse in motion? You adjust the flocking, or you start again with a new tree. Stands to reason that with 3-D printing you start with a tree that is much closer to what is needed then taking one off the rack, and if you know the horse has certain preferences for tree fit, you can adjust the digital file before you print it.

                              We already have the technology to sense high pressure areas underneath a saddle, and combining that with a 3-D printed tree that has built-in areas of softer material or higher flexibility could give a very interesting result.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Am I correct in saying that the present 3D printers work by laying down successive layers of material in the manufacture of an item? If not, now do they work?

                                G.
                                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  There are multiple different technologies in 3-D printing. Some of them spit out layer after layer of melted plastic (chocolate, concrete etc) and build it up, like a hot glue gun. This is known as fused deposition modeling. Some of them take a vat of liquid resin and use a laser within the vats to cure out the 3-D file which is then removed from the resin as a solid: this is called stereolithography. And some of them use laser sintering to create the design out of layers of powdered plastics or metals. This is called selective laser sintering.

                                  In the past, the rule of thumb was that for each vertical inch you should allow an hour of build time. However, the new stereolithography techniques are able to build height in 15 minutes or less, and use a robotic arm to speed turnover, no matter what the digital file is. This opens the door for 3-D printing as a real production tool, instead of just a prototyping tool.

                                  It’s a very volatile industry, it’s been around a surprisingly long time, and these technologies can do things that cannot be done in any other way. It’s just *how* these technologies will disrupt industries that need to be imagined, quite often... But the current applications in aerospace and healthcare are really remarkable.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thank you so much for your insights Xanthoria,
                                    and others.

                                    I was thinking of custom tall boots as being a great candidate for this technology.
                                    So many people try to get custom boots and yet have difficulties with the fit.

                                    Certified Guacophobe

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Thank you for the explanation of the various types.

                                      If you are making a "low stress" tack items, like a crop or set of coat straps, you have one class of item. But if you're talking about girths, billets, reins, etc. then you another very different class of item. What current method, if any, would work with materials that will experience significant stress as a matter of routine? Can they be produced more efficiently by machine than by just tanning hides?

                                      As to saddle fit, that's an art. Sometimes even using the word "fit" can lead folks astray into thinking of "fit" as in the fitting of shoes or pants or other normal items of clothing. In reality the saddle "accommodates" the back and is designed such that it does not unreasonably interfere with movement, and maybe even helps make it more efficient. Our resident Saddle Fitter probably has better information than I do on the subject!!!

                                      At the end of the day I don't see substituting 3D printing technology as being more than an incremental change to presently available strategies re fit. I do see it has having some capacity for improving manufacture of some tack items, particularly saddle parts like trees. But, again, just how much this will advance true utility over present methods is probably an item for discussion.

                                      G.
                                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I don’t believe there is currently a 3D printed material that replicates leather sufficiently to make custom tall boots, which are a luxury item of specific quality, in sufficient quality. However, custom fit items are a great application for 3-D printing. Mass produced items are not due to the cost. Currently. A better application for tall boots would be 3-D scanning of the leg and foot, and then 3-D printing a last specific to the user so that the cobbler can create a boot perfect for the user, without all of those impossible to get correct measurements. 3-D printing is often used to create dies and molds just like that very effectively.

                                        There are, however, custom 3-D printed shoes which take a scan of your foot and print a shoe bed or even orthotic just for you. Those have no prior expectations as to material quality/look attached to them within their tradition of use, therefore they are not compared against for example a tall leather boot that has been in use for hundreds of years within a specific sport.

                                        There are also materials that have significant tensile strength, for items such as reins etc., but probably lack “hand” and again, to produce a flat strap of material using 3-D printing is not cost-effective with the current cost of machines, compared to producing leather strap. That’s not to say that you couldn’t develop a material that has the correct qualities, but there needs to be demand in order for that to happen. I don’t think I can see you demand happening with the reins for example because they are a straight strap of material, and customization of rains is not a demand.
                                        What you have to understand about 3-D printing is that “complexity is free with 3-D printing”, as we say . It costs the same to produce an item of great simplicity as it does to produce something of great complexity, articulation etc. The latter items are extremely expensive to produce or impossible to produce by traditional means, and therefore 3-D printing is the fastest and cheapest way to create them.

                                        So, when thinking about items that could be 3-D printed, the most cost-effective ones to produce are ones that are highly complex or unique and custom fit and need to be produced quickly.

                                        Comment

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