Breaking the Mold with Forward AM!

In the fashion industry in general and footwear in particular, rapid and global supply chains are two key success factors.

As in so many other industries, AM has the potential to impact the footwear industry significantly – and already does, for example with the Adidas Futurecraft, and models by Nike and New Balance.

As 3D printing is well established for prototyping, it is only natural for the technology to be applied in footwear product development too. Considering its impressive capabilities, it’s no surprise that AM can play an even greater role in the shoemaking process.

We‘re already familiar with 3D printed shoes and other elements of footwear – but what about the actual footwear manufacturing process? At Forward AM we’ve worked out a way to make the benefits of AM accessible to our customers right away, by integrating 3D printing in the manufacturing process.

For hundreds of years, shoemaking was done entirely by hand. By their very nature, shoes are complex items, and traditionally were very time-consuming to manufacture.

When we consider footwear manufacture, there are two crucial tools that no shoemaker can do without – the mold and the last.

For 3D printed molds, our resin Ultracur3D® ST45 is the perfect match: This high-performance photopolymer scores through high strength as well as impact resistance, combined with excellent temperature stability. Thanks to Ultracur3D® ST45‘s easy release, removing the shoe sole from the mold is smooth and rapid.

Regarding the last, our resin Ultracur3D® RG35 makes the shift to AM simplicity itself, allowing post-processing, fine-forming and perfect polishing. Even drilling and tapping to add holding pins or hinges is easy and rapid.

Applying 3D printing to footwear manufacture offers so many advantages – the Use Case tells you all about it!

And while we’re talking about shoes, have you seen the fully 3D printed shoe we designed for our event team?
Head over here and watch our printed shoe in action!

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