Traditionally, footwear company will use outsourced CNC epoxy models at the prototyping phase of a new product. In the footwear industry it is necessary to produce physical models of the outsole (the rubbery bottom section of the shoe) before deciding whether or not to move forward with production. The old epoxy models were very detailed but had several drawbacks.
First of all, producing such models took a long time, often more than 2 weeks from sending the design to the external contractor to actually receiving the physical model and being able to assess it. It would spend about one week in the actual machining, but the actual delivery time would be much longer due to limitations in the contractor’s capacity, communication issues, courier delays and some of the other changes.
Footwear technicians report that they spend 15 days for this process, and 8 days would be the best-case scenario. In comparison, SLA printer can now produce the same model within 20 hours, and the whole process, including 3D modeling and post-processing, takes a maximum of 2 or 3 days. Usually company would print 6 models at the same time, which helps to speed up the process.
SLA priting also have the advantages of better quality control,keeping the intellectual property in-house,bring more possibility in design,etc.
If you are interested in finding out more about our 3D printing and prototyping services we’d love to hear from you.