Utilising Additive Manufacturing for a Paralympic Sit Ski
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Utilising Additive Manufacturing for a Paralympic Sit Ski


“A paralympic Sit Ski was re-engineered to enhance performance by utilising new and emerging manufacturing technologies. This concept showcased how the diverse range of capabilities developed within the High Value Manufacturing Catapult Centres can be combined to deliver product innovations.”

Mark Ireland, Senior Technology Officer for Cross-Catapult projects.

The Challenge

The MTC, working with the HVM Catapult, used ground-breaking manufacturing capabilities to improve the performance of a Paralympic Sit Ski. By using the Sit Ski as a demonstrator, the HVMC could showcase cutting edge technologies currently used with other leading commercial customers to solve their manufacturing challenges. Additive Manufacturing (AM) was selected to produce light weight components that can efficiently transfer energy to maximize the speed of the sit ski. Additionally, it was critical that the integrity of the AM components was validated before for use in this safety critical application.

The Solution

  • Working with the National Composites Centre and Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the MTC helped to design a new Sit Ski, leveraging the benefits of AM technology and topology optimisation, to save weight whilst providing improved performance.
  • For the Sit Ski project, the MTC used low-cost mobile phone technology to develop an instrumentation harness which could measure accelerations, lean angles and suspension deflection. This data was wirelessly streamed to a laptop during an indoor testing session.

The Outcome

  • A fully functioning Sit Ski that had a 30% reduction in weight was produced.
  • Improved aerodynamics compared with traditional designs.
  • Use of AM resulted in 50% weight reduced for the foot, push rod and rocker assembly.
  • Demonstrated the MTC's capabilities to validate AM parts.

“This project has developed a great Sit Ski, whilst showcasing British manufacturing technology, with potential savings and improvements in products and processes all over the UK.”

Sean Rose, Paralympian, X-Games athlete and broadcaster.

The Benefits

  • Proven new technology performance in a harsh environment, with components being pushed to the limits.
  • Using technology and skills developed on the sit-ski project, the MTC were able to deliver a solution for Rolls-Royce to simplify their supply chain, mitigating the need for a large multi-million pound equipment investment.