What started out as a class project could soon help golfers save a few strokes per round. Brothers and business partners, Patrick and Scott Snarr, have created Snarr3D, a golf company aimed at using 3D printing to create custom putter shafts. Their goal is to use 3D printing to tailor a putter’s weight distribution and help golfers improve their speed and distance control on the greens. This is the first all-in-one putter shaft we have heard of, and if successful, could continue golf’s exploration into additive manufacturing.
Patrick and Scott Snarr have been life-long golfers, and get out to play whenever they can. While working on their PhDs at the University of Texas-Austin, a class assignment arose asking them to redesign a traditionally manufactured product using additive manufacturing (AM). Their minds immediately went to their favorite hobby and how they could redesign the putter using the technology. While crafting their idea, the brothers saw the commercial viability of the product, and instead of presenting to their class, wrote a business plan. Soon, Snarr3D was born and the Snarr brothers began bringing their idea to market.
Snarr3D co-founders, Scott and Patrick Snarr, on the golf course. (Source: Snarr3D)
Their concept is simple: use 3D printing to redistribute the weight of a putter shaft and give golfers a better feel while putting. Unlike the traditional weight distribution where putter shafts come premade and weight is added post-production, Snarr3D simplifies the process by redistributing the weight during the print and removes the needs for post-production weights.
The company has initially partnered with SLM Solutions in Germany to print an initial 25 prototypes, but could increase production volume to 500 shafts per print, as business increases. SLM Solutions is using an SLM800 laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) Austen and aluminum powder to manufacture the shafts. The large Z height of the SLM800 is ideal for Snarr3D and allows them to print their putters completely vertical and in one piece. This process removes the need for supports and does not require post-processing.
Snarr3D’s putter shafts (right) compared to a normal putter shaft (left). (Source: Snarr3D)
Once the company is fully off the ground, Snarr3D would like to manufacture their product in the United States. Until then SLM Solutions is a great contractor for them and allows them to test the validity of their products and produce quality putter shafts.
The next step for Snarr3D is commercialization. Snarr3D plans to come to market in January 2024, and &: finalizing their patent-pending equipment in the upcoming months. They will likely bring three initial designs to launch and hope to have fully customized clubs in the next few years.
Putters with a custom Snarr3D putter shaft. (Source: Snarr3D)
This concept is a largely unexplored area for golf clubs and golf manufactures. Many established companies like Callaway and Cobra have focused their additive manufacturing efforts on putter heads and not shafts. We have yet to see similar technology, but Snarr3D could open up the doors for golf to explore this area more.
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