To celebrate their 513th birthday, the Vatican’s Swiss Guard, who are the Pope’s personal bodyguards, have officially begun wearing 3D printed thermoplastic helmets for formal occasions.
According to The BBC, these helmets “are designed to be lighter, cheaper, and cooler to wear” than their predecessors. “The helmets are nearly identical in appearance to the older version, but bear the coat of arms of Pope Julius II, who founded the unit in 1509. The Swiss-made helmets are 3D printed from the scan of a 16th-century original.”
“Members of the Guard must be Swiss, Catholic, single, and under the age of 30. They are also required to complete basic training with the Swiss army.” They have been serving the pontiff for five centuries. Currently, the Swiss Guard is comprised of 110 members in total.
As for their new 3D printed helmets, each one “weighs just 570g (1.25lb), compared with their 2kg (4.4lb) metal predecessors. They cost between $911-1,012, around half the price of the older version. Supported by private donations, the Vatican has already rolled out 98 of these 3D printed helmets. 22 more are expected for delivery this year.”
As Swiss Guard commander Christoph Graf concludes: “we have to move with the times.”
Image and Quotes Courtesy of The BBC