They announced it last year and last Tuesday, it has become official. The Vatican’s Swiss Guard finally swapped their former helmets for new ones that have been 3D printed.
It’s been centuries that the Swiss guard ensures security to the papacy. However, their working conditions have not always been the ideal ones. Indeed, their ancient metal helmets were too heavy for the guards: hand-forged in Austria, they weight 2 kg.
In order to make lighter armour that they should wear at mass and ceremonial receptions, they called for Marcus Risi, owner of a Switzerland-based 3D printing company.
For the manufacturing of new helmets, experts 3D scanned the 16th-century original helmet, thereafter, work on the digital data before 3D printing the new helmets. One day was required to produce a new helmet.
As we can read on Swissinfo, “the new hi-tech helmets weigh just 570 grams, protect against ultraviolet rays and are fitted with air vents. But they are not cheap: each costs CHF900-1,000 ($911-1,012) to produce, though this is still cheaper than their predecessors, which also took almost 130 hours to make. The 3D printer makes a PVC helmet in one-sixth of that time.”
98 helmets have been delivered on Tuesday 22 January. 120 helmets, financed by donations, will be manufactured throughout the year.
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