Looking like a large wiffle ball, Wilson’s Airless Gen 1 hits the courts after a year of prototyping and intense interest.

Rob Spiegel

February 24, 2024

3 Min Read
3DP basketball
Wilson Sporting Goods Co.

At a Glance

  • A 3DP basketball
  • An amazing ball at an amazing price
  • The first run sold out fast

It’s here, Wilson’s long-promised 3DP basketball. It doesn’t require inflation, it’s customizable, and it’s pricy.

Wilson Sporting Goods Co. has released its promised Wilson Airless Gen1. The ball is the first-of-its-kind 3D-printed basketball. Building off the success of the airless prototype last year, the limited-edition Wilson Airless Gen1 basketball was finally launched for purchase.

Wilson_Airless_Basketball.jpg

Limited units of the Wilson Airless Gen1 per posted on Wilson.com for the staggering price of $2,500. Last year as talk about the ball swirled, the expected price was $200 to $250. Visits to the Wilson site reveal that the first run of the ball has already sold out. Visitors are asked to sign up for notices of new production.

Here’s an ad for the basketball:

Chatter about the ball has been going on for nearly a year. "We were overwhelmed by the excitement from our airless prototype, and we knew it was time to bring this rare innovation to the world," said Kevin Murphy, general manager for team sports at Wilson. "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."

details.webp

The Wilson Airless Gen1 has similar functionality to the prototype which was circulated to trial audiences last year. Since then, 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.

Here's some background on the ball:

Tech Details on Wilson’s Airless Gen1

  • Improved functionality: Upgraded lattice design for more consistent performance and bounce. The ball still includes the same see-through lattice with eight panel-like "lobes."

  • Streamlined manufacturing: Holes integrated within the channels to help speed up the manufacturing process, making it faster to create each ball. The basketball remains airless and does not to be inflated.

  • Enhanced customization: Each ball will have a built-in label for customization and will feature the exact, limited number in which it was produced.

  • Color variety: In addition to the recognizable jet-black colorway of the prototype, the Airless Gen1 will also be available in brown and natural white.

  • 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.

  • Limited units of the Wilson Airless Gen1 will be available exclusively on Wilson.com.

 

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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