Louisville Slugger Goes 3DP

Formlabs worked with Louisville Slugger to take the baseball bat into the future.

Rob Spiegel

April 16, 2023

2 Min Read
Louisville Slugger

Louisville Slugger created a new spin on the baseball bat at the Slugger Innovation Center in Roseville, Calif. The company's product designer John Steel used a combination of traditional and modern tools for the design and manufacturing of aluminum and composite baseball bats. Engineers used Formlabs’ Form 3 printers to advance equipment design, resulting in the BBCOR Atlas.

In creating the BBCOR Atlas, Louisville Slugger engineers merged traditional manufacturing methods like CNC milling, lathes, and wood patterning with 3D printing to make their bat manufacturing process significantly faster. The process reduced the long wait times between outsourced iterations.

While these bats don’t meet the stringent requirements of Major League Baseball, the bats can be used by youth and collegiate players around the world.

A Story Told in Photos

In the photo below, Steel removes a prototype of the Pyramid Grip component that will be used as a mold positive. The mold will then be back poured with another material like silicone or urethane. 

Louisville Slugger

Here, light-touch supports make post-processing faster and easier, with less mess.

Louisville Slugger

Using a 3D printed master, Steel poured silicone to create tooling for a prototype of the Pyramid Grip. 

Louisville Slugger

After the silicone mold is created, Steel can inject another material like urethane or epoxy to create the finished prototype.

Louisville Slugger

3D printing helped Louisville Slugger speed up the iterative process with innovation from concept design (light grey, 3D printed part, far left) to the finished part made with traditional manufacturing (pink part, far right).

Louisville Slugger

About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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