Water Bottle for Runners Goes the Distance with Multiple 3D Printing Technologies

As any runner can attest, staying hydrated is a crucial part of maintaining your endurance. However, when running long distances outdoors, holding a water bottle or trying to find a drinking fountain can be a challenge.

No one knows this better than Jim deBeers. A long-time runner both in competitive and non-competitive settings, deBeers wanted to come up with a better way to stay hydrated without derailing his workouts. With a background in project engineering, Jim began to tinker with the idea of a bottle runners could attach to their bodies and be able to work out hands-free. With that in mind, the HydraKlick® Solo 8TM was born.


3d printing

“Working with Stratasys Direct Manufacturing gave me access to multiple technologies to ensure we got the fit and function of the prototypes right.”

As any runner can attest, staying hydrated is a crucial part of maintaining your endurance. However, when running long distances outdoors, holding a water bottle or trying to find a drinking fountain can be a challenge.

No one knows this better than Jim deBeers. A long-time runner both in competitive and non-competitive settings, deBeers wanted to come up with a better way to stay hydrated without derailing his workouts. With a background in project engineering, Jim began to tinker with the idea of a bottle runners could attach to their bodies and be able to work out hands-free. With that in mind, the HydraKlick® Solo 8TM was born.

The Solo 8 TM consists of an 8-oz. water bottle that is secured in a cage, which is mounted to a belt-free sport clamp on the runner’s waistband. This allows the runner the best of both worlds: Easy access to H2O and the ability to keep both hands free during workouts.

Taking a Test Run

Like any product, the Solo 8 TM didn’t just magically appear on deBeers’ waist during a workout. He needed to validate his idea through prototyping, but didn’t have the equipment or knowledge of additive manufacturing to build the parts himself. Instead, he turned to Stratasys Direct Manufacturing to build the parts. With his initial CAD files in hand, they produced prototypes of the bottle and cage using additive manufacturing. The benefits of additive manufacturing were two-fold: the prototypes were built faster and more affordably when compared with traditional methods like CNC machining.

The bottle and the pouch holder plate were built with a process called Laser Sintering (LS), which uses a laser to heat and fuse powdered thermoplastic together. deBeers also used laser sintering to create fixtures for efficient assembly and testing. The Solo 8 TM cage was built with Stereolithography (SL), another additive process that relies on a laser to produce highly-detailed parts one layer at a time out of liquid photopolymers.

“The durable LS materials ensured that the bottle wouldn’t break while I ran, while the SL cage conveyed the right look and feel of the final product,” deBeers said. “Working with Stratasys Direct Manufacturing gave me access to multiple technologies to ensure we got the fit and function of the prototypes right.”

Another advantage of additive manufacturing for the Solo 8 TM was the ability to make design changes on the fly. If testing revealed a design or material needed to be tweaked, all deBeers had to do was submit an updated CAD file and a new part could be produced immediately.

“There was some trial and error in the product’s development, with multiple rounds of design iterations tested during hundreds of miles,” deBeers said. “But with additive manufacturing, we knew that any changes we had could be made easily without setting our project back.”

Crossing the Finish Line

After the success of the Solo 8 TM prototype, deBeers is now going into full-scale production of the product with injection and blow molding. But as an avid runner and engineer, deBeers continues to expand his HydraKlick® product line and is turning to additive manufacturing to do so.

Another product, the Belt Duo TM, consists of two 8-oz. bottles in cages mounted to an adjustable belt with a sport pouch, which can hold your phone, keys or other personal items. Once again deBeers came to Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and SL to produce the prototype cages, giving him the right look and feel while staying on time and within budget.

If you’re an avid runner, this is the water bottle you’ve been waiting for: www.hydraklick.com

Whether it is for prototyping or end-use part production, additive manufacturing is accelerating time to market and changing the way things are built. With a wide range of materials and technologies available, organizations and individuals alike can harness multiple additive technologies to build complex parts quickly and more efficiently. Visit our Case Studies page to see how.

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