Why the Vatican’s Swiss Guard is now using 3D printed helmets


The Vatican is one of the enduring emblems of the Catholic faith around the world. It’s classed as a separate city-state, with its own laws and governance, and it even has its own soccer team! The Swiss Guard has been tasked with protecting Vatican City, and the Pope, for as long as many of us can remember, and this is something that has become synonymous with the Vatican.

The Swiss Guard have always worn a colorful and distinctive uniform, as well as a metal helmet known as a morion. These uniforms have undergone only small changes over the years, and that’s what makes the latest piece of news so surprising! It seems that the guards’ outfits are now undergoing big changes, and the morion helmets will be replaced with 3D printed helmets!

Bucking tradition

This is striking news due to the fact that the Swiss Guards’ outfits hold a special place in the tradition of the Vatican. The Renaissance-inspired uniform was introduced way back in 1914 and has been a hallmark of the Swiss Guard ever since. The move to even consider 3D printed helmets shows a major departure from tradition. This change was announced last year.

Tech revolution

This is not the first instance of 3D printing making waves in the world, and it’s fair to say that this is a tech revolution that isn’t going away any time soon. There are a lot of things that play a part in helping technology progress, and, the more developments we see, the more likely we are to have examples of real changes in the world around us. 3D printing has so many benefits, and it’s not hard to see what makes this an attractive option.

Why 3D helmets?

So, why is the Vatican considering 3D printing its helmets? Well, one of the key reasons behind this is likely to do with the fact that it is a cheaper and more efficient way of doing things. These helmets, made out of PA-12, are lighter and cheaper than the morion helmets. This is essential for the role that the Swiss Guard fill, as they spend a great deal of time outside in the sun. The first batch of close to 100 helmets, printed using scans of 16th century helmets, were printed in just 14 hours!

What these new helmets provide

We know that the new 3D printed helmets are lighter (weighing just 570 grams) than their predecessors, as well as being UV resistant. However, security will still be a factor with these helmets, as it is important to keep the guards safe while they carry out their important job. These helmets can be made much more quickly for a much lower cost, and will be more comfortable for the guards to wear. This feels like a win-win for everyone.

There are so many reasons why 3D printing can have a major impact on the world, and this is just one example of how it is becoming more widespread. Having been used for things like engineering prototypes and machine parts, this is another example of how 3D printing is serving a purpose in the modern world.