This New Basketball is 3D Printed and Does Not Need Air

Basketball of the Future


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

By: Noah Siegel, Journalist

Imagine a world where you can buy a basketball and use it straight out of the box. If you don’t already know, usually when you buy a basketball, you have to inflate it a little bit because the ball has been sitting on the shelf for a long time. This inconvenience will now be part of the past. Wilson’s new prototype of a new kind of basketball is completely 3D printed and you don’t have to pump it up with air at all.

The engineering behind the airless basketball is genius. Instead of relying on pressurized air to produce the bounce, it uses the basketballs flexible material to do it for you. The basketball has small holes to allow air to flow through the ball. These holes could be a major flaw because wind could blow through them and your perfect swish could turn into a curving air ball. Creating the airless design was actually not that hard to do because various different tire companies have tried to do this with tires so Wilson essentially just turned that design into a basketball. When manufacturing this new basketball, they have to use lasers to fuse layers of polymer powder into the 3D design. They remove the excess powder and coat it in a black paint.

During NBA’s all-star weekend, they unveiled this new kind of ball. Considering that Wilson basketballs have been a big part of the NBA, this could mean that this new ball will be used by the players in games. Wilson is still doing research to be able to officially release the ball but I will definitely be excited for it when it does.

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