Thursday, 31 March 2011

Interesting news for the large of foot

    You are unlikely to find the Melonia shoe attractive enough for you to covet it, but if like me you are at the outer edge of normal footwear size ranges you should be very interested in it.
    Why? It is the first piece of footwear to be produced using 3D printing. If you are unfamiliar with 3D printing let me explain: it refers to the process in which three dimensional objects are fabricated by laying down successive layers of their component materials. Any object can be made with a 3D printer, the only limitations being the size of the device and the materials available to be used in it.
    As an engineer I have been interested in 3D printing for over a decade and I had anticipated seeing it used for footwear. I hope that within a reasonable timescale I will be able to order my very large ladies shoes online in almost any style because instead of their being volume produced and shipped from a warehouse they will be made specially for me in my size on a 3D printer. It is likely that by then the industry will have developed some better materials than the Melonia's white plastic.
    Something to look forward to, I hope you will agree

(Image from The Register. Very naughty, using one of their images in this way, go and visit them for top quality tech news!)


  1. Am I correct in assuming that this is a similar process that my dentist uses to mill porcelain inlays and crowns in his office, by means of 3 dimensional photography and a CAD system (Computer Assisted Drawing), linked to a milling machine?

    The shoe in your picture looks like a Salvador Dali creation!

    Melissa XX

  2. Not quite, your dentist starts with a block of stuff and takes bits away from it while the 3d printer starts with nothing and builds up the shape by depositing little blobs of plastic. A CNC milling machine can not make such complex shapes as a 3D printer, though its range of materials is much wider.

    A rather interesting 3d printing application is choclate making, with jets of different chocolates and fondants. Previouslay impossible creations have been made.

    The Melonia shoe is only the start, I'm sure they'll can only get better.

  3. Sounds interesting but can you wait that long? Just how big are your feet Jenny? Are you absolutely certain that you cannot buy shoes in your size? You'll be surprised at what can be bought!

    Shirley Anne xxx

  4. I'm a UK15, so in effect no. It's been a lifetime obsession. With one exception, Le Dame, but they're in the USA so not too easy for me to get hold of.