Are you ready for 3D-printed shoes?

By Alyssa
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The footwear industry is no stranger to 3D printing.  Many shoe designers use the technology to experiment with prototypes and help visualize new – and often cutting-edge – designs. But how can 3D printing – also called additive manufacturing – be used in other parts of the industry, such as manufacturing and production?

This is the focus of a recent article in Compass, The Right Fit.

Could 3D printing allow for the easy manufacturing of personalized footwear?  This is a goal for many.  It’s no secret that people’s feet are not all the same.  We all have had that pair of shoes that we like that doesn’t fit quite right, but we bear it because – well, what choice do we have?  According to recent research conducted by New-York based SOLS, 63% of those who buy its products had been wearing an incorrect shoe size.

3D printing could alleviate that compromise between comfort and fashion.  And it’s not just the fit that can be easily adjusted, but consumers can change features at little to no cost.

Another benefit? Virtually eliminating industrial waste, since 3D printing involves adding layers of materials rather than cutting them out.  It can also address other issues in the footwear industry, such as creating too much inventory and manufacturing imperfections.

But no one claims this will easy or a quick migration.  Check out the full article to read more about the pros and cons of 3D printing in footwear, and then come tell us: are you looking forward to the day when you can design your own shoes, or would you rather stick with the ease of the traditional footwear shopping process?

 

 

 

Images © Julien Fournié and © SOLS

Applauding XtreeE in Leading 3D Printing Revolution

By Akio
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clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Applauding @XtreeE in Leading a
#3dprinting Revolution in #AEC | @3DSAEC

Even as digital technology is transforming AEC processes, emerging digital platforms stand poised to transform construction products themselves.

Paris-based XtreeE is seeking to lead an industrial revolution in construction, civil and mechanical engineering by using 3D printing for large-scale architectural applications.

Through integrated consulting, manufacturing and technology, XtreeE provides education on how to use additive construction in the construction industry, while also developing end-user solutions and the technology needed to fabricate products.

Watch this 360-degree video to experience the process of designing and 3D printing a concrete structure:

(Tip: Use the directional controls to pan around the room as the video plays.)

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: [VIDEO] Watch
@XtreeE #3dprinting in action

XtreeE’s Exploration of Additive Printing

Led by Philippe Morel, architect and founder of EZCT Architecture & Design Research, the group brings together architects, civil engineers, material research engineers, scientists and roboticists.

The possibilities—including structural pillars, truss structures and walls—that XtreeE present are promising.

3D Printing as the Future for Construction

The concept of using additive construction to manufacture building components may be the next step in the evolution toward prefabrication.

By prefabricating building systems, AEC teams are able to more rapidly deliver quality products at reduced costs.

Additive construction takes those benefits a step further. It allows fabricators to produce highly complex one-off shapes at a controlled cost. It provides incredibly high precision for each component at levels of less than 0.5 mm.

By using parametric design to create an optimized component, less material is needed, leading to lighter products and less waste.

XtreeE suggests that integration of these processes can reduce time to market by approximately 40%.

The Tools Necessary for Next-Level Innovation

Dassault Systèmes, in honoring XtreeE commitment to innovation and entrepreneurial applications for 3D printing and connected objects, supports XtreeE by providing design and simulation tools through the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab.

Simulating and optimizing the fabrication of a structure

Simulating and optimizing the fabrication of a structure


 

Sketching a structure to be 3D printed.

Sketching a structure to be 3D printed.

With our 3D simulation tools, the XtreeE team can optimizes the design and shape of their structures:

  • Simulation enables advanced structural analysis and topological optimization, taking the properties of the new materials into account.
  • Generative Design Exploration enables designers and architects to create biomimetic forms.
  • Continuous additive manufacturing allows the roof and the walls to be manufactured simultaneously, together with built-in seating.
  • Computer-programmed robotic fabrication enables a minimum use of concrete that balances optimal structural performance with sustainability.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #3DPrinting concrete structures
promises exciting new breakthroughs in #AEC

Celebrating a Concrete Achievement

To celebrate the XtreeE team’s latest achievement of producing a concrete pavilion using 3D additive manufacturing—the first construction project of its kind in Europe—Dassault hosted a ceremony in Velizy-Villacoublay, France on September 20, 2016.

XtreeE and Dassault Systèmes at the pavilion inauguration in France

XtreeE and Dassault Systèmes at the pavilion inauguration in France.

At the event, Morel emphasized the importance of innovating with construction materials in order to advance the industry. He also pointed out how relatively rapidly concrete has evolved in just 200 years into a core element of our built environment.

Both the Dassault Systèmes and XtreeE teams are enthusiastic about continuing to develop AEC innovations in concrete using simulation tools and 3D printing.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Applauding @XtreeE in Leading a
#3dprinting Revolution in #AEC | @3DSAEC

Related Resources

Collaborative and Industrialized Construction

Learn more about XtreeE

Learn more about the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab

MIT’s experimental 3D-printed sneaker shape-shifts to your foot

By Alyssa
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Byline: Marc Bain

MIT_feature

At the moment, 3D printing is still mostly about experimentation. While it hasn’t quite taken off to revolutionize the way consumer products are made just yet, it does offer a lot of exciting, innovative ideas, especially in the realm of sneakers.

MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, a group focused on research into “active” materials, is working in collaboration with product designers Christophe Guberan and Carlo Clopath on one of the most unique footwear possibilities involving 3D printing: It’s a shoe that can be “programmed” to match the contours of your foot.

Their Minimal Shoe, as they’ve dubbed it, is created in a unique process. They stretch out a textile and then 3D-print lines of plastic in varying layers and thicknesses on it—essentially, the structure of the shoe-to-be. Next they cut out the portions of the textile they want. Released from the original stretch, the textile will “jump” into a new shape according to the arrangement of the 3D-printed lines left on it. Hypothetically, you could either custom print a shoe for each wearer with just a few lines of extruded plastic, or you could make a nearly one-size-fits-all shoe, since the stretchy textile will conform to any given shape.

MIT_inline

Skylar Tibbits, one of the directors of the lab and a research scientist in MIT’s architecture department, tells Quartz they’re investigating both possibilities, and that the “morphability” of the textile could make for a more comfortable and adaptable type of performance footwear.

The whole shoe wouldn’t have to be created with this method either. Just the upper could be, or portions of it, and then it could be attached to a more traditional sole. It’s also relatively easy to make, compared to 3D printing an entire sneaker.

“Imagine using active materials to produce one-size-fits-all shoes, adaptive fit, and self-forming manufacturing processes,” a statement by the lab says. “This technique would radically transform the production of footwear forever.

Although the shoe is still a work in progress, Tibbits told The Creator’s Project that a large sportswear company is currently interested in the process, though he isn’t certain what might come of it.

Actually, of all the consumer-goods industries exploring uses of 3D printing and customizable textiles, sneaker makers could well be among the first to bring products to a mass market. Adidas has already introduced a 3D-printed midsole that could give every customer the perfect fit, and Nike’s COO recently expressed his confidence that we’ll soon be able to 3D-print Nike sneakers at home or the nearby Nike store. Both have also shown an interest in finding new ways of manufacturing lightweight textiles that can stretch and contour to the wearer’s foot, as in the knit uppers that have been so popular for both.

The Self-Assembly Lab is working on other projects too, including materials that can transform in response to outside stimuli. So, for instance, something like sneaker laces that could tighten from heat or the energy of a small battery. Currently it’s collaborating with Airbus on creating a dynamic carbon-fiber component for the company’s airplane engines.

The Minimal Shoe in particular came about when the lab received an invite to design footwear for the “Life on Foot” exhibition at the Design Museum in London.

To discuss this and other topics about the future of technology, finance, life sciences and more, join the Future Realities discussion on LinkedIn.



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