Picking out guidelines from digital files, joining together layer upon layer of material—regardless of whether metal, ceramic or plastic—until the object shape is distinctively realized. The process is called 3-D printing and if you are not aware about this concept at this point, you haven’t been paying enough attention to scores of breathless news stories and innovation write ups or to the Ex-President Barack Obama, who pronounced in his State of the Union address that 3-D printing “can possibly change the way we make practically anything.”
Just like with any innovation, designers have to start somewhere, and the race is already being run by major shoe brands like Adidas, Nike, New Balance and Under Armour who all need to assert some authority as they are the current rulers of 3D printing.
The practice is viewed as a mutually beneficial endeavor for both brands and consumers. For the former, it will enable them to cut down their waste and fast forward their design process. For the latter, specificity to one’s needs – in terms of size, fit and athletic discipline – can be much more tailor-made.
New Balance can be given credit for being the first. Their Zante Generate is the first 3D-printed running sneakers to be made commercially available. Nike appears to be interested in tweaking the prototypes as opposed to using 3D printing for wearable end product for the masses. They cemented their goals pushing ahead in the 3D printing space by banding together with HP in May 2016.After running a lot of tests, Nike decided to create the Zoom Superfly Elite.
Under Armour’s new 3D-printed ArchiTech Futurist arriving in limited quantities at selected brand houses. On the other hand, Adidas has been playing around with 3D printing as an assembling technique for some time now, yet its most recent sneaker, the Future craft 4D may be its most driven creation yet. As of late the organization says 100,000 sets of Future craft sneakers will be made before the end of 2018.
3-D printing has the potential to do wonders for the industry. It has the potential to create shorter lead times for designers, offer the capability to produce things in smaller batches, and create easy customization. On the flip side,3-D printing technology could render jobs in the manufacturing industry obsolete, problems of Authenticity, Quality control for the brands and will present some tricky issues surrounding copyright.
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