Grasshopper/3D Print Shoe Project

Hey guys! So I wanted to show one of my first major 3D printed projects that I modeled using grasshopper. I took a course during my final year at university with one of my favorite professors that focused on 3D printing and its uses in architecture and production. We worked closely with a local shoe manufacturer and was able to use many tools at her workshop, including a home built 3D printer. I’ve also always been interested in computational technologies, so I decided I wanted to take some basic shoe designs further with parametric design. The first iteration started out with a 3D scan of my foot and molding a voronoi pattern around that shape. I wanted to see how I could apply a design we see often in architectural design to something in everyday life, like a shoe.

All iterations were printed with ABS. As you can see, some of the voronoi connection points broke due to stress, and because ABS is rigid, I obviously could not fit these on my feet.

The first iterations were fun, but I wanted to try something that I could actually wear. Additionally, I was inspired by another one of my professor’s love for tall shoes that seemed closer to a sculpture than something you would put on your feet. Because of the limitations of material (we only had an Stratasys Dimension ABS printer at school), I knew I would have to incorporate new material into the design. I landed on a wedge shape for the base/heel of the shoe, and decided I would use stretchy elastic bands to hold the foot down. As I had been working with the voronoi grasshopper node frequently, I thought it would useful to incorporate previous designs into this newer version of a shoe. Additionally, I could use the Karamba plugin for structural analysis. Below is the original grasshopper script, applied to a heel shape I designed in Rhino (based around a size 8 women’s shoe, which is what I wear). Also shown is an image of the final 3D model:

I was pleased with this final design and believed I could successfully 3D print it. I was EXTREMELY nervous that some of the points would fail, but luckily none did. The prints took over 24 hours and a good amount of support material.

As you can see, I incorporated holes in the design to place the elastic material through. I ended up stitching 3 elastic loops:

That was it! The shoes were complete. My feet actually fit and they weren’t actually that uncomfortable to wear! So there you have it, fashion using parametric design and a 3D printer. A very fun project during my last year at school.

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