High-performance golf equipment maker Callaway Golf Company (Carlsbad, CA) has entered into a consultancy agreement with GE Additive's AddWorks team. The first project resulting from the agreement is a redesigned Odyssey R-Ball Prototype putter head.
As part of its product innovation strategy, Callaway uses a range of manufacturing techniques to innovate and produce clubs and equipment that reflect the different aesthetic and acoustic tastes of professional and amateur golfers in every region.
The reworked Odyssey R-Ball Prototype putter was originally developed as a tour preferred model in Japan, but its design had an acoustic signature unique to that local market. Callaway's goal was to see how additive manufacturing could change that acoustic signature while retaining the preferred shape and performance.
For this putter head, the best way to optimize acoustics was to add geometry that made it difficult for conventional casting methods. GE Additive AddWorks' engineering consultants worked with Callaway's design and engineering teams to apply additive manufacturing design practices and build upon an already-proven design:
- AddWorks provided guidance to Callaway, based on decades of additive design background spanning several industries.
- The team refined existing designs to the build direction to ensure all features were self-supported or easily supported during the build. The AddWorks team designed supports for thermal stresses and overhang constraints.
- Topology optimization was used in conjunction with acoustical mapping to create the optimal design.
As Callaway continues to shape its future additive strategy, the AddWorks team has equipped it with knowledge on additive processes, provided assistance on materials selection, along with developing parameters and testing protocols to achieve desired material properties. It has also helped Callaway discover and identify other parts that are potentially suitable for production in the future.
"Additive manufacturing is a new tool, which is quickly going beyond the aspirational phase, and into the functionalization phase of the technology. Callaway needs to learn how to use this tool well, because it is inevitable that 3D printing of production parts is going to happen—it is the production method of the future," says Brad Rice, director – R&D, Advanced Engineering at Callaway.
"We chose to work with GE Additive to partner with experts that represent best-in-class within the industry. GE Additive brings the total package to the table offering end-to-end solutions, from printing machinery, raw materials, consultancy, and build software," Rice adds.