3D printing helps Shrewsbury inventor’s new boxing coaching help go growth

John Docherty of Boxing Hand Grenade with Charlotte-Anne Smith of Protolabs Boxing hand grenadeBoxing hand grenade

The Boxing Hand Grenade (BHG) is an brainchild of Shrewsbury-based personal trainer and martial arts instructor John Docherty, who developed the handheld device after a cumulative injury to his hand and wrist.

With the race to go to market, he turned to Telford-based Protolabs – the world’s fastest digital manufacturer and pioneer in advanced manufacturing technologies – to prototype through their PolyJet 3D printing service.

“The idea for the BHG came after I used a piece of foam I found on the gym floor to grab my fist while sparring with a client,” said John, whose potential boxing career was troubled had to be broken off with his eyesight.

“It had the effect of improving the structural integrity of the hand and absorbing the impact of a blow. The idea for the boxing hand grenade was born and the response was fantastic.”

At first glance it is a very simple device, but it has been ergonomically designed to conform to the contours of the hand and to be worn in boxing gloves under traditional boxing hand wraps. There are also a number of key functions enhanced by the 3D printing production process that are different from similar tools.

Flexion grooves allow the initial dissipation of the surface impact shock and micromotion of the punching fist, while a future variant of the product will have a central implosion chamber that allows the excessive impact shock to be dissipated.

John added, “As an entrepreneur with limited resources, I needed to find a manufacturing partner who understood what I wanted to create and the importance of getting the product to market before another innovation came to light.

“From the minute I met Protolabs engineers, I knew they saw the urgency, but equally importantly, I realized that combining 3D printing for the prototype and injection molding for production would bring me both performance and price would that worked.

“Using the interactive quotation system has also enabled me to understand the financial implications of various materials and quickly create a practical, affordable solution for my design.”

Charlotte-Anne Smith, Applications Engineer at Protolabs, said, “We were delighted to be able to help John develop this truly innovative project in such a short time and at a realistic cost.

“PolyJet 3D printing technology provided outstanding detail, precision and surface smoothness using a clear digital photopolymer material so that the implosion chamber is visible. This is an exciting innovation for boxing and other martial arts, and it could prevent hundreds, if not thousands, of long-term injuries. “

The boxing hand grenade has undergone rigorous testing by professional boxers and professional combat hand wrappers, including former Welsh boxing champ Russell Pearce.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and sales have come from all over the world. John was now interested in reviewing distribution agreements and a number of potential retail stores.

He added, “There is nothing on the market like BHG and we have received inquiries from amateur and professional boxers who recognize the potential benefit of using the fist loader for their pocket and pad work. All feedback suggests that it will soon be a common trait in professional, amateur, and fitness boxing. “