From the company’s beginning, Materialise has been a developer in 3D printing supply and applications. The founder and CEO Fried Vancraen considers 3D printing to be not just fancy prototyping technology but an industrial revolution as well. This can be seen in the company’s latest project; custom ski boots that are made with the Swiss start-up Tailored Fits. The Tailored Fit ski boots can be customized with made-to-measure hard lining, or fitted with a 3D printed insole.
They are made from flexible 3D printing material TPU 92A-1 (thermoplastic polyurethane) and the inserts are made using the scans of individual consumer’s feet. It takes as low as 10 minutes for Tailored Fits’ specialists to obtain the data needed from a customer. The data is then translated into a model for a custom insert by their design automation software. During the final step, the insert model is relayed as a print-ready instruction to a 3D printer at the Certified Additive Manufacturing facility at Materialise. With the digital thread we minimize the need for third parties, so the consumer can receive a product closer to the one personally chosen and customized on the product interface.
Before 3D scanning customized insoles were modeled upon a hypothetically stationary foot. With the 3D technology and flexible TPU material, custom 3D printed footwear is produced with a consumer’s natural biomechanics in mind. This is where the advantage of 3D printed shoes comes in, and why companies like 3DShoes.com are jumping on the 3D printed footwear bandwagon. The method has the potential to prevent pressure point and pain, causing lower signs of fatigue and reducing wear and tear. As the technology grows custom shoe printing booths are going to show up more around the world. Tailored Fits ski boots made by Materialise will be available from sporting goods retailers starting December 2017.
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