Consumer ProductsSports Equipment

Wilson to sell Airless Gen1, the first 3D printed basketball

Limited units will be available on Wilson.com beginning February 16th for $2,500

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More or less at this time last year, Wilson and EOS launched the first functional 3D printed basketball – the Airless Prototype – at the NBA All-Star Game. It was a fascinating exercise in design for AM of a hugely popular consumer product and we had some fun theorizing the possible price point such a product could eventually go on sale for. Many doubted it would even go on sale at all. It turns out that the Wilson Airless Gen1 is going to be available commercially. The bad news is that the initial price tag, $2,500 is quite far from what we had imagined. But there’s plenty of time for that to change.

The Wilson Airless Gen1 from Wilson Sporting Goods Co. is the first-of-its-kind 3D-printed basketball that never needs to be inflated. Building off the success of the Airless Prototype debut last year, the limited-edition Wilson Airless Gen1 basketball will be available for purchase on Feb. 16.

Wilson to sell Airless Gen1, the first 3D printed basketball. Limited units will be available on Wilson.com beginning February 16th for $2,500
Group of 3D printed Basketballs – Photo credit: Wilson Sporting Goods Co.

“We were overwhelmed by the excitement from our Airless Prototype, and we knew it was time to bring this rare, first-of-its-kind innovation to the world. Wilson has gone where no brand has gone before with the release of the Airless Gen1 basketball, further inspiring the next generation of sports innovation,” said Kevin Murphy, General Manager, Team Sports at Wilson.

The Wilson Airless Gen1 has similar functionality to the prototype, however over the last year, the Wilson Labs team has taken steps to increase performance and streamline the manufacturing process. The basketball nearly fits the performance specifications of a regulation basketball, including its weight, size and rebound (bounce). While the Wilson Airless Gen1 is crafted for play, it is truly a coveted, technology-infused product meant to create and inspire a new community of innovation enthusiasts and basketball hype curators alike.

The Wilson Airless Gen1 undergoes significant updates including improved functionality with an upgraded lattice design for more consistent performance and bounce, retaining the see-through lattice with eight panel-like “lobes”. Streamlined manufacturing is achieved through integrated holes within the channels, expediting the production process without the need for inflation. Enhanced customization is facilitated by built-in labels for personalization, each ball featuring its specific limited production number. Moreover, color variety expands beyond the prototype’s jet-black to include brown and natural white options.

The Wilson Labs team leveraged the same game-changing process to create the Wilson Gen1 Airless basketball with key partners: General Lattice provided computational design services for elevated performance optimization, DyeMansion provided color and finishing solutions, EOS provided technical oversight and a roadmap for mass production, while SNL Creative was the primary manufacturing hub for this first launch.

As previously mentioned, limited units of the Wilson Airless Gen1 will be available exclusively on Wilson.com beginning Friday, Feb. 16 for $2,500. Fans can also experience the product at Wilson’s on-site activation at NBA Crossover in Indianapolis from Feb. 16 – 18.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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