During the design evolution of the Rucksack, we wanted to create a buckle that combined simplicity, reliability and strength.

Buckle up: How 3D Printing Innovation Helped Bring a 100-Year-Old Buckle Design Back to Life

At its core, Troubadour design development is always driven by function. This principle applies to everything from the decision to design a new product for the line, down to the smallest detail of each product. For example, during the design evolution of the Rucksack, we wanted to create a buckle that combined simplicity, reliability and strength.

Inspiration came from a rifle strap design. In 1907, Colonel Wright of the Ohio National Guard designed a “leather loop sling” with an easily adjustable buckle. The design of this strap proved so effective that it remained in service with the US Army until 1954.

With this design as our starting point, we worked with the development team at Raccagni (creators of the zippers used on many Troubadour products) to evolve the design of the Troubadour Rucksack buckle.

Using 3D printing technology, we began retooling the original design. This involved creating different versions of the buckle as 3D prototypes, tweaking the design visualization of each in an iterative process.

Recent innovations in 3D printing made this process simpler, faster and more economically viable than it would have been as recently as five years ago. Individual prototypes could be created and amended with a very high degree of accuracy and a quality finish.

Once we were happy with the 3D-printed design, the team at Raccagni created a steel mould of the exact size and shape of the buckle. Molten metal is injected into this mould at high pressure, ensuring a high-quality smooth surface finish on every buckle produced in the die-casting process.

The result is a buckle with a clean design that is both strong and easy to use. While it’s a small detail, it’s also a manifestation of our design philosophy, where no detail is too small.