Angler’s delight: 3D printed fly reel

Michael Hackney's 3D printed fly reel

Angler Michael Hackney recently revealed his 3D-printed fly reel that contains no hardware, a project that's been two years in the making.

From soccer to swimming, 3D printing is being used to imagine how sports equipment could be made tougher, simpler and more efficient, and fly fishing is the most recent sport to see newly minted 3D equipment unveiled.

Hackney reveals on the Eclectic Angler.com that he set tough standards for himself when he started the project in 2012 including a parts count as low as possible -- all of which would be 3D printed; compatibility with modern fly rod reel seats; and a sleek design.

Hackney's fly reel is made of cornstarch and biodegradable plastic, making it renewable, and although it has no nuts and bolts, it works so well that it's been turning heads in the 3D printing industry since he rolled out his first prototype one year ago.

He's ironed out the problems from that prototype and the website 3dprintboard.com has opened the 3D Printed Fly Fishing Reel Forum to discuss the design and update enthusiasts on when testing prototypes will become available.

Though not available on the mass market, Nike has been producing 3D-printed cleats since 2013, starting with the Vapor Laser Talon and most recently with the Vapor HyperAgility Cleat.

3D-printing technology allows for a design that makes for significantly faster cleats, according to a Nike video, for it reduces slipping more than previously thought possible.

Speedo has designed 3D-printed custom-fitted goggles for each swimmer's face, and Burton is said to have 3D-printed snowboard bindings in the works, according to backcountry.com.

Get ready to gear up because this equipment could be coming soon to a sporting goods store near you.