HP’s Metal Jet 3D printing is taking a swing on the greens via Cobra Golf’s fancy new putter.
3D printing is becoming par for the course in a widening array of sporting equipment, and golf in particular is embracing new possibilities. HP and Cobra Golf announced earlier this year that they were working together on a multi-year product roadmap. They said they were going to innovate and produce “first-of-its-kind clubs and equipment designed to elevate the game.”
Today we see the first introduction, as HP, Parmatech, and Cobra Golf unveil the KING Supersport-35 Putter. The design also features a face insert that came about through another partnership, as SIK Golf’s patented Descending Loft Technology (DLT) features in the putter’s face insert.
Before we dive in too much, I’m coming clean: my putting experience usually involves a windmill and a kitschy theme. But this partnership goes well beyond fun-n-stuff putt putt courses.
Fortunately an expert golfer was at hand, as US Open champ, COBRA ambassador, and tech geek Bryson DeChambeau has been deeply involved.
“I’ve had a lot of success over the years with my SIK putter and was really excited to work with COBRA to develop a new way to manufacture equipment and bring this new putter to market,” said DeChambeau. “HP’s Metal Jet technology is an incredibly advanced production method and very exacting, which is pretty critical in golf equipment. I think golfers of all levels will benefit from the combination of COBRA’s high MOI design and SIK’s Descending Loft technology.”
I had to look up “MOI” — in golf, that’s the Moment of Inertia, and it turns out it’s rather an important measure for a putter. Golf.com explains:
“MOI stands for Moment of Inertia. Every putter has it, and you measure it using an MOI machine. The way it works is that an un-shafted putter head is placed on a central disk so that the putter head’s center of mass (CG) is directly in the center of the disk. The disk rotates back and forth. The MOI machine measures the amount of resistance the putter head creates each time it changes direction. The more the putter’s mass is located away from the center the higher the putter’s MOI. A putter with high MOI won’t twist as much as a putter with low MOI.”
Unsurprisingly, there’s a bit more science here than what probably goes into the mini golf courses my family and I have casually enjoyed.
The KING Supersport-35 Putter is designed “to create the most consistent and accurate roll on every putt.” To engineer such consistency, COBRA teamed up with HP. Since starting their working relationship late last year, 35 different design iterations over eight months sprang forth from Metal Jet 3D printers.
It sounds like not all 35 of those were just for this putter; the release also explains:
“In addition to this launch, the brands are working together on a strategic, multi-year product roadmap, that leverages the design and manufacturing benefits of HP’s additive technologies to deliver future golf equipment that raises performance and golfer satisfaction to new levels. This is just the first foray into what promises to be a significant element in future COBRA golf clubs. COBRA has plans to launch two additional products in 2021 that feature 3D printed technology.”
Among the highlights of bringing Metal Jet into their product development process, Cobra Golf’s VP of Marketing, Jose Miraflor, pointed to “design freedom, rapid design iteration, and high-quality parts that meet our economic demands.”
The putter body is 3D printed using 316 stainless steel, sintered, and then CNC milled to precisely finish the surface in terms of both shaping and cosmetics.
“HP’s 3D printing technology allows us to utilize a complex lattice structure to remove weight from the center of the putterhead and push significant amounts of weight to the perimeter,” said Miraflor. “The result is superior MOI levels and massively increased stability and forgiveness. So not only is the 3D production method more consistent but it also allows us to design products in a new and superior way.”
The putter is available starting at the end of this week, retailing for $399 at COBRA’s website.