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Wilson's 3D-printed airless basketball

Wilson has introduced its latest innovation in sports equipment – the 3D-printed airless basketball, dubbed the Airless Gen1. Unveiled on February 16th, 2024, a year after its initial introduction, this revolutionary basketball boasts a unique design that eliminates the need for inflation. Limited to just 75 units for the Gen1, the ball utilizes a 3D-printed polymer lattice structure to mimic the bounce, flight, and feel of a traditional basketball.

Featuring an intricate lattice structure with hexagonal perforations, the Airless Gen1 maintains its bounce and feel without the hassle of air pressure adjustments. Notably, the basketball's surface is adorned with eight panel-like lobes and a seam structure akin to standard basketballs, enhancing its familiar appearance and performance.

Wilson's journey to develop the 3D-printed airless basketball began with rigorous testing and refinement. Initially showcased during the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest on February 18th, 2023, where Houston Rockets' player KJ Martin tested its performance, the ball has since undergone enhancements to its structure and appearance. The introduction of new dyed colorways, including Jet Black, Natural, and Brown, further adds a personalized touch to the Airless Gen1, with each unit featuring a unique serial number inscribed into its lattice design.

Utilizing advanced 3D printing technology, Wilson collaborated with EOS, a leading provider of 3D printing solutions, to bring the Airless Gen1 to life. The intricate process involves layering a white powder base with a laser-etched hexagonal design, followed by sealing and dyeing to achieve the desired color and finish.

While the Airless Gen1 represents a significant leap in sports equipment innovation, Wilson acknowledges that further testing and refinement are necessary before commercial release. With a dedicated design team and engineers striving to ensure that the basketball not only looks and feels like its traditional counterpart but also meets the demands of players, Wilson remains committed to pushing the boundaries of sports equipment design.

As the company continues its quest to revolutionize sports equipment through cutting-edge technologies like 3D printing, the Airless Gen1 stands as a testament to Wilson's dedication to innovation and excellence in the world of athletics.


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