Kav launches a 3D printing factory for bicycle helmets in Silicon Valley • TechCrunch

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I’m not a doctor, but I’ve been led to believe that heads and brains are important pieces of human infrastructure, and protecting them makes a lot of sense. The other thing to keep in mind is that all heads are a slightly different shape, and I’m surprised we haven’t seen more better fitting helmets hitting the market. This is where custom 3D printed helmets come in. For just over $300, Kav’s 3D printing advocates will send you a fitting kit to take measurements, print your helmet, and two to three weeks later the delivery van will show up at your doorstep. The company has just opened a factory in Redwood City in the Silcon Valley to begin fulfilling orders from across the United States.

“Consumers love the idea of ​​locally produced goods, but the premium associated with paying a living wage, carbon-responsible operation and US regulations is a chilling effect. Recent supply chain issues cause companies to scramble to secure raw materials and inventory at great expense, undoing decades of just-in-time manufacturing and triggering global inflation They are forced to make tough decisions by compromising speed, quality and costs,” said Whitman Kwok, founder and CEO of Kav, in an interview with TechCrunch. “Kav set out to build the most advanced headsets in the world and, in doing so, create a beacon of how manufacturing can excel. , not in spite of labour, environmental and regulatory considerations, but because of them.”

Kav has built a solar-powered 3D printing factory, capable of printing “thousands of helmets a month”. The company launched its first headset at $390 in April, but has since optimized production flows and was able to reduce the price per custom headset to $320 per unit.

Fresh helmets, get your helmets, fresh off the OV… I mean, 3D printer. Image credit: Kav.

Before opening the current factory, Kwok told me the company was creating proof-of-concept helmets in “a glorified garage,” but the new lab is filled with a stack of new technologies and bespoke materials. to print helmets.

“We’re on our fifth generation of printers,” said Kwok, which are heavily modified Prusa printers. “We’ve retrofitted all new hardware, rewritten all software, and integrated environmental controls on top of the entire cluster. We use a proprietary carbon fiber nylon composite formulated for impact attenuation and stability in temperatures ranging from -15°C to 70°C. It took 27 iterations, but there’s nothing else like it on the market.

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