Interview: Modla X Reebok 3D printed Athlete’s Mask

Reebok, like parent company adidas, continues to explore
the application of 3D printing to sportswear. The latest 3D
printing project comes in the form of a collaboration with
London’s
Modla – 3D
printing and design specialists.

I caught up with Modla co-founder Rich Goddard to learn
more about the
Reebok
Innovation Collective
and, “developing
footwear and apparel that deliver the next generation of
performance and expression”.

Led by Goddard’s co-founder and lead designer, Jon Fidler
Modla has produced a bespoke 3D printed athlete’s training mask
that uses the Flexweave material from Reebok. “The mask is our
interpretation of an existing training mask, which is designed
to restrict the level of oxygen taken in by the athlete when
training,” explains Goddard.

“The aim is to give a similar effect to that of high
altitude training, making the body work harder to increase
overall fitness and performance.”

The futuristic looking mask joins a pair of cutting-edge
running gloves from Joe Doucet x Partners and a collection of
light-weight, active sitting chairs by Odd Matter.

The Modla X Reebok 3D printed Athlete's Mask.The Modla X Reebok 3D
printed Athlete’s Mask.

3D printing gives fast turnaround

To create the prototypes, Modla initially used Ultimaker
2 3D printers for a fast turnaround, shortening the design
cycle. Once Fidler and his team settled on a final design, the
final 3D printing was undertaken by fellow London based
business,
Digits2Widgets
and used their EOS SLS 3D printers.

Post-processing work to dye the masks was done by
DyeMansion.

Goddard adds, “We also used a Form 2 to create masters
that were used to create the molds for the silicone components.
CAD files were created in Solidworks. Lasercutting and assembly
was done at our space at
Makerversity
in London.”

For the creative and design process, Modla was asked by
Reebok to come up with some ideas of products which integrate
the new Flexweave material. Goddard says, “We felt this would
fit the brand, so our lead designer, Jon Fidler, worked up some
designs. Taking into consideration both form and function, the
mask itself involves a valve system to restrict inflowing air.
It has 3 different settings, which can be switched by rotating
the front panel on the mask.”

The resulting mask is intended to be a functional piece,
but at 3D Printing Industry HQ we can imagine any potential
wearer wouldn’t look out of place at the next Techwear
meet-up.

Running gloves from Joe
Doucet x Partners and Odd Matter active sitting chairs join the
3D printed mask.

3D printing was not the only technology used to make the
mask. “For the Flexweave, we spoke with the Reebok product team
to understand the production methodologies used in trainer
manufacturing for such a unique material, and integrated them
into our overall process,” explains Goddard. “We used laser
cutting to form the shape of the material, which is another
digital process using our CAD file. The laser cutter cuts
through the Flexweave in a matter of seconds and allows us to
test the shapes created on the spot.”

“We then used heat bonding processes with TPU adhesive
hot melt film – used by Reebok in traditional trainer
manufacturing – to create the edging for the design.

The material itself is then fixed to the mask using a
specially designed fixing mechanism to click into place, so
there’s no glue required.”

So there you have it, if you’re looking to add a spot of
resistance training to your lungs or just hang with your fellow
urban ninjas, the
Modla
X Reebok 3D printed Athlete’s Mask
might be
what you’re looking for.

London is one of the early leaders in nominations for
the

2018 3D Printing Industry
Awards
, do you agree? Make your choices
now.

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Featured image shows the The Modla X Reebok 3D printed
Athlete’s Mask.

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