Fits like a glove - shoes from the 3D printer

The individualization of products is one of the main advantages offered by additive manufacturing. It comes to bear, quite literally, in the 3D printing of shoes, shoe soles and shoe insoles. The sports industry in particular is characterized by innovation and fast pace. Many of the materials processed there can also be 3D printed. For end customers, this means individualization with the highest precision.

With modern scanning technology, walking and load profiles can be captured and converted into a digital model. This data can be conveniently fed into a 3D printer, which then 3D prints a shoe sole perfectly adapted to the customer’s individual profile. The possibilities are almost limitless. Whether for performance enhancement for increased comfort or as a fashionable design element – thanks to tool-free production, individualized 3D printing of shoes becomes cost-effective. For prototypes and also for series production.

Advantages

Advantage of cost efficient

Economic efficiency

voxeljet High Speed Sintering (HSS) is similar to laser sintering - only without the laser. It combines its advantages with higher production speed, material variety and optimal surface quality. It is the first system to combine the greyscale and dithering processes with unique options for partially influencing the material properties in lattice structures and solid material.

Advantage of geometric and design freedom

Individualization

With the voxeljet High Speed Sintering (HSS) process, you can open up completely new markets, as physically unique products and applications are possible. With a previously unattainable degree of individualization. Resource-efficiently produced, e.g. in lattice structures with partially optimized mechanical properties. Economically producible even in the smallest batch sizes.

Advantage of material variety

Material variety

voxeljet HSS 3D printing systems for functional models cover an enormous range of applications. As a perfectly integrated tool in materials research and product development. Scalable for the fast and economical implementation of highly individualized products up to medium series production. Already today, a wide variety of polymers such as PA12, PP, TPU, PEBA and EVA can be processed.

The great advantage of 3D printing lies on the one hand in on-demand manufacturing and on the other hand in the 1-to-1 transfer of the digital model into a real object.

Shun Ping Pek,Shoe designer

3D printing for the perfect sneaker

Use Case

3D printed shoes for performance enhancement

Every person has their own load and running profile. Especially in competitive sports, the right footwear can be the decisive factor in being able to run longer, faster or better than others.

While sporting goods manufacturers used to control the properties of running shoes via the material of the shoe sole, 3D printing of shoe soles opens up entirely new possibilities. At the same time, the material properties are by no means relegated to the background. They still predominantly determine cushioning, durability and energy recovery during the run. But additive manufacturing makes it possible to improve these properties even further by means of geometric adjustments. Lattice structures are the crucial keyword for 3D-printed shoe soles.

Where the loads are higher, for example at the heel or ball of the foot, the sole can be reinforced via thicker grid structures. Stress-free zones such as the outer edge of the foot, on the other hand, can be supported by lighter structures. This also saves material at the same time. In this way, 3D printing can adapt the shoes perfectly to the runner and optimize them for high-performance sports.

Use Case

Shoe manufacturing 4.0


Polymer High Speed Sintering enables custom footwear from 3D printers that can even offer consumers performance and comfort-enhancing features.

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3D printed shoes for extraordinary design

However, performance enhancement or individualization is not always the focus. Sometimes it’s just about creating something extraordinary, futuristic or unique.

If the focus is on aesthetics, 3D printing of shoes or shoe soles opens up completely new possibilities for fashion and shoe designers. Detached from geometric restrictions, the most spectacular designs can be digitally designed and quickly transformed into a real product. In addition, additive manufacturing also offers the possibility to combine function and design or to 3D print a shoe as a whole, without seams or gluing.

Use Case

The right material for 3D printing shoes

In practice, shoe soles are made from a variety of materials: Rubber, caoutchouc, wood or leather. 3D printing of shoe soles focuses in particular on polymers and elastomers. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is one of the most common materials. It is characterized by a rubber-like elasticity, is tear and abrasion resistant and can be processed additively. Other materials used in the footwear industry, such as PEBA or EVA, have already been successfully 3D printed in initial tests.

Combined with the geometric freedom of additive manufacturing, 3D printing of shoes, shoe soles and shoe insoles looks set for a promising future. Many materials are still unexplored and untested, and 3D printing will also continue to evolve. Here, the open-source concept within voxeljet’s High Speed Sintering technology offers the ideal framework to perfectly match material and 3D printing.

Material qualification


In this white paper, we will show you the entire workflow and the special features to look out for during material qualification.

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Partner from the chemical industry

The interaction between high-performance materials and the flexibility of the voxeljet 3D polymer High Speed Sintering (HSS) process is the decisive factor for optimum physical component properties, maximum precision and excellent surface quality. Together with our partners from the chemical industry, we are continuously working on expanding the range of available materials to include new polymer materials.

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