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Australian Researchers Create Custom Titanium Horseshoes

Scanned and modeled on the racehorse's hooves, these new shoes are a first for 3-D titanium printing.  Photo: Courtesy CSIRO
Scientists at CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization—Australia's largest scientific research organization) have custom-made a set of titanium shoes for one Melbourne, Australia, racehorse, a first for the sport.
 
The horse, dubbed "Titanium Prints" by researchers, had its hooves scanned with a handheld 3-D scanner this week. Then, using 3-D modeling software, the scientists used the scan to design a "perfect-fitting," lightweight racing shoe. Four custom shoes were printed within only a few hours, they said.
 
Traditionally made from aluminum, each racing shoe can weigh up to a kilogram (about 2.2 pounds). But the horse's trainer, John Moloney, says that the ultimate race shoe should be as light weight as possible.
 
"Any extra weight in the horseshoe will slow the horse down," he explained. "These titanium shoes could take up to half of the weight off a traditional aluminum shoe."