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Our with the old...
These titanium printed horseshoes are not made using an anvil
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CSIRO's scientist with the horse
The horse is aptly named Titanium Prints
The craft of the farrier has barely altered in about 1,500 years. The shortened process of making a horseshoe goes something like this; first they measuring the contour of the horse’s hoof applying those measurements to a steel bar, which is then heated up until white hot, dipped in water and hammered to distribute the metal to the part of the hoof that takes most strain, then the steel is heated up again, without the cool down this time, and hammered into shape by up to two farriers. Then the shoe has a groove created to capture dirt and so as the nails do not protrude from the shoe itself. After repeating the process and the other side, the shoe is then measured up to the horse and filed down to create a more curved feel, making it safer for the horse and anyone it decides to kick. It is then fitted to the fingernail like material of the horse's hoof by hammering metal nails through the shoe into the hoof, then repeat that process three time...
What I’m getting at there is that the farrier’s job is hard work, wouldn’t it be much easier if they could just print a fitted horseshoe out? One that’s light and designed specifically to that horse’s hoof, printed in titanium, purple titanium at that?
Though my attitude in the opening paragraphs may seem a little churlish this is a genuine study by scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia. The CSIRO were tasked with coming up with a horseshoe that weighs less than the traditional shoes for racehorses, were any slight decrease in weight equals an increase in speed.
John Moloney's horse ‘Titanium Prints’ is taking part in the experiment by having the hooves scanned and then turned into a CAD model ready to be printed in titanium. John’s, naturally, very excited at the potential of shaving of a few pounds and therefore second from a horses race. “Any extra weight in the horseshoe will slow the horse down. These titanium shoes could take up to half of the weight off a traditional aluminium shoe, which means a horse could travel at new speeds.”
CSIRO’s Titanium expert, John Barnes, said that 3D printing a race horseshoe from titanium is a first for scientists and demonstrates the range of applications the technology can be used for.
“There are so many ways we can use 3D titanium printing. At CSIRO we are helping companies create new applications like biomedical implants and even things like automotive and aerospace parts.
“The possibilities really are endless with this technology,” he said.
The precision scanning process takes just a few minutes and for a horse, shoes can be made to measure each hoof and printed the same day.”
Though this development is particularly exciting in the moneyed world of horse racing, blacksmiths of the world need not hang up their anvils just yet. A farrier can make a full set of horseshoes in 30 minutes at a cost of about $100 for that full set, that’s the manufacturing and fitting, whereas this 3D printing process can take a day to scan, a day to print and cost up to five times as much.