Stratasys Blog

From Shoe Design to Finished Prototype in Just 2 Hours! (and 6 Easy Steps)

With a couple of hours to spare on a hot August afternoon I decided to have a go at printing a shoe sole on our new Objet260 Connex multi-material 3D printer. Here are the 6 steps I went through to produce my final model – taking just under 2 hours from start to finish:

Step 1 – I produce the shoe sole design on my CAD system. I want to produce a model with a rigid transparent sole and rubber-like treads to closely match the look and feel of the real thing. 







Step 2 – I export the CAD file to an STL file and then import the STL into the Objet Studio ready for printing. I then arrange how I want the shoe to be oriented on the build tray and which materials I want to assign to each part of the shoe. In this case I designate Objet TangoBlack rubber-like material to the tread shell and Objet VeroClear – a rigid transparent material to the sole shell.

With other prototyping technologies the two different shells – the treads and the sole would have to be printed seperately and then glued together by hand. Not so with the Objet260 Connex! Both shells – with their different material properties are printed in a single piece with no post-gluing required and no extra manipulation of the CAD files. All of this saves me a substantial amount of time and effort.

(Note that there’s space on this tray for many more shoe soles or any other 3D models – and you don’t have to be limited to the same material mix! You can mix up different material versions of various parts and print them on the same tray – all at the same time.)

Step 3 – Print! Print! Print! (See the UV light on this Objet260 Connex machine which cures the Objet materials as each layer is deposited on the build tray.)






Step 4 – I then remove the completed model – encased by the support material.







Step 5 – I wash the soluble support material away in the waterjet.








Step 6 – Presto! I hold and test my finished multi-material shoe sole prototype just two hours after working the design on my CAD screen! If a designer is not happy with the final model it’s simplicity itself to tweak the design and print again.

In a single day you can go through many design and testing cycles that would have previously taken days or weeks to achieve using conventional prototyping methods. This is a true force multiplier for designers, engineers and manufacturers everywhere who want to build better products and get them to market faster in today’s ever-more competitive business environment.

This post is also available in: Japanese

Sam Green, Head of Marketing for Rapid Prototyping Solutions, Stratasys

Sam Green, Head of Marketing for Rapid Prototyping Solutions, Stratasys

Sam Green is Head of Marketing for Rapid Prototyping Solutions at Stratasys.

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