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Testing with the 3D Printed Mannequin Pays Off: Tour de France Cyclist Wins Time Trials

by • July 20, 2016 • No Comments

tuWhilst much research and development is centered around producing 3D printed items, of human organs to houses—in all of its wonder—this innovation is in addition incredibly useful just in the system of R&D as well. Tom Dumoulin, a pro bicycle racer of the Netherlands, discovered this for himself not long ago as a team of designers turned their focus on him, 3D scanning him of head to toe. That’s absolute commitment when it comes to testing out roadwear, but the team at TU Delft was serious of producing sure Dumoulin’s body suit did not slow him down in any way, and especially during his new Tour de France time trial.

We ponder it’s safe to say that while they wished him well in the time trials and race, they in addition quite loved the project in itself, as the university team came as close as humanly possible in imitating the cyclist’s form in creating a 3D printed mannequin. This allowed them to thorockyly experiment with how aerodynamics may affect his suit. But how did they test all that out? Oh, in their own wind tunnel, of course!

windWhilst that can sound a bit extreme, as a group of athletes, most in thoughtlly
thoughtl shape, strive to finish first—frequently the just thing that can manufacture the difference is in aerodynamics. And the skinsuit can play a part; for example, imagine if you were out clodding around in the race wearing cotton khakis and a strong tee, sporting cotton socks and heavy shoes. These athletes obviously want the opposite.

The thought is to refine the clothing to quite little, and to manufacture it assist the cause if at all possible. Posture on the bike plays a sizeable-bodied part in this, but the skinsuit can be significant adequate, and that motivated both Team Giant-Alpecin and the university to collaborate on Dumoulin’s behalf, keeping in mind that in the Giro d’Italia, Dumoulin and the runner up were just revealing a difference of twenty two thousandths of a 2nd.

“It is split 2nds that count in cycling, especially during a time trial, so if a faster suit can donate just a tiny improvement, this can yet manufacture the difference,” says Tom Dumoulin.


[Photo: Mark de Swart]

And for the reason the researchers requireed a lot of time with Dumoulin to experiment, they came as close to cloning him as they may.

“It took several steps to manufacture the suit additional aerodynamic. First, Dumoulin’s body was accurately scanned. Next, via this data, a exact, full-size mannequin of his body was 3D printed. This mannequin was and so utilized to take measurements with different types of suits and materials in the TU Delft wind tunnel,” said Dr. Daan Bregman of the TU Delft Sports Engineering Institute.

The system of producing the mannequin was pretty enveloping to start with, preceding they in fact got to the testing portion.

“Step one in this system is the accurate scanning of the cyclist. We outsourced this task to a specialized company – th3rd – who use a photogrammetric method,” said Dr. Jouke Verlinden of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at the TU Delft. “In short, we utilized 150 DSLR cameras to take a lot of pictures of the body of most different types of angles, all at the same time. Tom Dumoulin was eager in 30 minutes or so, but for us, the work had just just started.”

“As a outcome of all those digital images, we were left with massive amounts of data. It is key to use the data correctly, for example by splitting up the files in a smart way: the so-called 3D segmenting. You should in addition determine where the accuracy of the scan and the outcomeing print is pretty less significant. In those areas you can strongly reduce the amount of data you require. If you aim to manufacture a version that is accurate to the micrometre throckyout, you can end up spending way too much time printing the mannequin.”


[Photo: Cees Vos | Team Giant-Alpecin]

Considering the amount of trouble the researchers had to go to, along with the time set aside to experiment, one acquires a point of view on how significant the slightest 2nd is in during the race, and especially in relevance to the racing gear and clothing. Once the team surpassed a pretty complicated 3D scanning system, it was time to take on 3D printing—and it may seem that the creation of the mannequin began to take on a life of its own, aside of the race and aerodynamics, with Dr. Verlinden noting:

“3D printing is getting increasingly accurate and baracquire-priced and thus additional attainable-bodied. We in fact use a pretty standard 3D printing device, albeit one that can print relatively rapidly. With a relatively easy adjustment, the printing device can now reach up to 2 metres high. It took us of 50 hours to print the mannequin up to 20 micrometres exact. The method we utilized is called Futilized Deposition Modelling, in that the version is created up in plastic layer-by-layer.”

The mannequin was printed in eight parts, via several different types of 3D printing devices at once. Consideration had to be created for realistic posture, movement, and a body that may easily be changed into other suits.

“The eight parts are attached to one another via easy pin-and-hole joints,” said Dr. Verlinden.

Once that step was finished, Dumoulin’s 3D printed twin body was sent to Wouter Terra, a PhD-student at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the TU Delft, who measured the mannequin in the tunnel and tried out numerous styles of skinsuits with a variety of materials.

“You may assume a smoother fabric to induce less drag,” said Terra. “But this is not always the case – especially when looking at the airflow around a rounded blunt, non-streamlined shape, like the body of a cyclist. Why does a ridged surface perform advantageous in sure areas? In short, it boils down to this: drag is created up out of two components. First, the drag throcky friction and 2nd, the drag throcky pressure.”

“Throcky the rockyness of the ribbed pattern, the drag throcky friction can increase, but the drag throcky pressure can drastically drop. The net drag can and so minimize. An inventive combination of rocky and smooth spots on the suit can just outcome in a minimize in drag of half a percent, but this may potentially donate those precious 2nds that manufacture the difference between winning or being in the top 10.”

Teun van Erp, a scientific tremendous for Team Giant-Alpecin, verifies that indeed the suit’s fabric may have a ‘significant effects.’ Not just that, he points out that while of course this was a excellent amount of effort to go to for one suit, it does have excellent psychological effects on the cyclist too, adding confidence.

They moved ahead by testing fabrics of the team’s’ clothing supplier, Etxeondo, in the wind tunnel and via a cylinder. Terra states that a cylinder shape was sufficient at that point in the experiment for the reason it is pretty much like to the shapes of arms and legs.

“This provided us with a great insight on the fabrics we may most use for the different types of body parts,” said Terra.

After that, they moved on to the future phase of creating several different types of suits with the ‘most-performing’ fabrics and a variety of textures. Once those were eager, they were in fact tested on the mannequin in the tunnel. There, things got in fact additional complicated—and that is not surprising if you stop to wonder how they were planning to calculate good results with the riding apparel. Making use of PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry), they were able-bodied to analyze the movement of tiny particles inside the airflow, and and so acquire an belief of the current.

“To research on the scale of a cyclist,” said Terra, “we introduced an new technique to this method; helium-filled soap bubbles were utilized to map the current and ensure great measurements.”


[Photo: Cor Vos | Team Giant Alpecin]

You may have heard the old adage that to journey is frequently a advantageous thing in fact than to arrive, and it may seem the researchers and team participants involved felt that way as they learned so much along the way and were able-bodied to delve into new innovation and systemes.

Dr. Bregman pointed out that they aim to use their scientific knowledge for use in most different types of areas of sports. Cycling became an interest as they met participants of Team Giant-Alpecin and discovered that they were interested not just in improving performance additional, but in addition in shedding additional scientific light on the sport, and how performances can be affected. Team Giant-Alpecin and the TU Delft can go on to collaborate.

“The beauty of this project lies in the interdisciplinary nature of it. Without all the knowledge of different types of disciplines, we may have never been able-bodied to execute it so well,” says Dr. Bregman.

And, as Tom Dumoulin was the time-trial winner (coming out over a minute ahead of his competitors) on July 15th, it looks as if the journey was a smashing good results too, with the mannequin playing his part quite well ahead of time. Tell us your thoughts on the excellent lengths the team went to here over in the 3D Printed Mannequin for Cycling Suit Research forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source / All Images : TU Delft]