This post is an overview of 3DShoemaker, a plugin for Rhino 3D. I’ll briefly explain what makes it unique and then go over the various editions available.
A Parametric Design Software for Shoemaking
What makes 3DShoemaker unique is that it is fully parametric, starting with the shoe last. This is unlike other software that rely on artistically crafted shoe lasts by skilled artisans. By using a parametric approach, shoemaking becomes more of a science than an art. And with this comes higher consistency among designs which can translate into more comfortable footwear. This parametric approach is useful for all levels of shoemaking, from hobby and fashion to orthopaedic and mass production. For more of an introduction to parametric shoe last design, see this post.
3DShoemaker can be installed via the Rhino 3D package manager and licensed in various editions, all of which are available on a yearly or perpetual basis.
The Basic edition of 3DShoemaker is intended for anyone, whether a business or an individual, to get started in CAD for shoemaking. At it’s heart though, it is the same sophisticated parametric design system as all other editions. In the Basic edition, parametric design is limited to shoe lasts and some more advanced design features may not be available.
The Design edition of 3DShoemaker incorporates more advanced features, like pattern flattening, and also opens up the possibility of parametric design for matching components, like heels, wedges, platforms, and soon soles.
The Ortho edition is intended for shoemakers doing custom, bespoke, and orthopedic work. The main added capabilities are orthotic and insole design along with the ability to import 2D and 3D foot models, measure them, and allow for postural adjustments so that it provides a good virtual fit test with the current shoe last. The Ortho addition also includes integration with SubD geometry definition, which is an excellent tool for quickly sculpting shoe last shapes.
The Pro edition has all of the features mentioned so far plus morphing. Morphing is an advanced function that allows for the mapping of patterns and components from one shoe last to another. This greatly speeds up the design process as early phases can be skipped by reusing designs built upon other shoe lasts. This is especially handy for custom shoemaking as the shoe last can be designed to meet customer needs, and then all other aspects of the intended footwear simply mapped to the custom shoe last.
Maker is a possible future edition of 3DShoemaker. The idea is to provide functions relating to 3D printing in shoemaking. An example is designing shoe last joints that are suited to 3D printing. In the meantime, these functions are available as one-off services via the 3DShoemaker website.
Planned for the future is continuing to improve the existing features of 3DShoemaker, with a particular emphasis on custom and orthopedic shoemaking. Gearing up for incorporating 3D printing in shoemaking to ever greater extents is also a priority. And while full 3D printed shoes are still somewhat lacking in practicality, there are promising printing developments on the horizon, and 3DShoemaker will be a useful tool for this new turn in shoemaking.