MCAD Tech News (#301)

10 Mar, 2011 By: Cadalyst Staff

Schutt Sports Scores with Football Helmet Digitization

With the help of software, this safety equipment company transforms captured surface data directly into SolidWorks CAD models.

By Nicholas Iwaskow

Do you want to be safe, or do you want to be cool? When it comes to sports, these are often mutually exclusive options, but not in the case of Schutt Sports football helmets and faceguards. The company's Ion 4D, Schutt AiR XP, and DNA Pro+ are the world's only helmets to feature advanced TPU (thermoplastic urethane) cushioning — the material used in U.S. fighter pilot and paratrooper helmets. These helmets protect heads and look good doing it.

Though a rising star, Schutt Sports has made football safety equipment since 1935, when it developed the sport's first faceguard. Today, three out of four pro football players wear Schutt Sports gear. The company recently decided to aggressively upgrade its entire helmet and faceguard line, a decision that presented several engineering challenges.

Recovering Complex Surfaces from 2D Designs

The first of these challenges was complexity of form. Although it may appear to be roughly spherical, a football helmet in fact has a complex set of curves to optimize safety, fit, performance, and eye appeal. Adding to this complexity are cooling vents that keep the wearer comfortable and help prevent heat stroke.

Cooling vents and a multipart cushioning system are two of the design elements integral to this Schutt Ion helmet.
Cooling vents and a multipart cushioning system are two of the design elements integral to this Schutt Ion helmet.

Second, Schutt's engineering documents were trapped in static 2D files, presenting a major productivity hurdle for engineers who were used to working with Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks 3D modeling software.

"We needed a straightforward way to get our existing, older designs into a 3D format so we could update them," said Tony VanHoutin, Schutt's lead design engineer. "We could not compromise on precision because we need a perfect fit of all helmet components — including shells, padding, faceguards, and fasteners — across our full range of child and adult sizes." Read more »

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Nicholas Iwaskow is the manager of alliances for SolidWorks.



Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events


Webinar: Bridging the Gap between SolidWorks and your Electrical and Fluid Designs
March 16, 2011
Noon ET
Zuken's Patrick Hackney will present this webinar, which focuses on using E3.WireWorks within a SolidWorks environment. Read more »

Webinar: CAE Practical Applications — CFD and Structural Multidisciplinary Analysis
March 17, 2011
1 p.m. ET
This is a webinar in Siemens PLM's bi-monthly series for analysts, managers, and lead engineers who are responsible for engineering and development processes. The webinar begins with a technical presentation, followed by a Q&A session. Read more »

Webinar: What's New in Teamcenter 8.3
March 22, 2011
2 p.m. ET
In this webinar, the Education Services group at Siemens PLM Software will share the latest features of Teamcenter 8.3. This free mini training session provides tips in the use of Teamcenter software and potential productivity gains achieved by investing in formal training options. Read more »

CIMdata PLM Certificate Program: The Netherlands
May 9-13, 2011
Amsterdam, Netherlands
CIMdata's PLM Certification Program prepares PLM technologists at several levels to address the challenges inherent in PLM implementations. Read more »

CIMdata PLM Certificate Program: Massachusetts
June 20–24, 2011
Andover, Massachusetts
This assessment-based program includes an intimate classroom experience, individual and team exercises, and individual evaluations of achievement. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


Just How 3D Are We? Part 2
Readers weigh in on the question of 3D CAD adoption, revealing a wide spectrum of opinions about 2D and 3D use. Read more »

CAD Users, Vendors, Resellers: Cyon Research Needs Your Input
Two surveys will paint a picture of engineering software market and how users are implementing CAD, CAE, PDM, PLM, and BIM tools. Read more »

On the Edge Solid Edge Tutorial: Apply Custom View Styles to Your
Set up your display with view styles, and change among them quickly. Read more »

Newforma Adds Mobile Functionality, Revit Connectivity, and Contract Management
New modules extend reach of Newforma Project Center Eighth Edition, the company's core project information management solution. Read more »

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

Add comment

Note: Comments are moderated and will appear live after approval by the site moderator.

AutoCAD Tips!

Lynn Allen

In her easy-to-follow, friendly style, long-time Cadalyst contributing editor Lynn Allen guides you through a new feature or time-saving trick in every episode of her popular AutoCAD Video Tips. Subscribe to the free Cadalyst Video Picks newsletter, and we'll notify you every time a new video tip is published. All exclusively from Cadalyst!

Follow Lynn on TwitterFollow Lynn on Twitter

Do you use any augmented or virtual reality (AR or VR) technologies in your workflow?
Not yet, but we are planning to implement it.
No, but we think these technologies could hold value for us.
No; these technologies do not hold value for us.
Submit Vote

Download Cadalyst Magazine Special Edition