Parametric Shoe Last Design Software: Introduction to 3DShoemaker

3DShoemaker is a plugin for the commercial CAD software Rhino3D. The following is a guide to getting started using 3DShoemaker. If you’re new to Rhino, you might watch this interface tutorial first, and try out their free trial. If you are trying to figure out how to install 3DShoemaker, see this page.

3DShoemaker Panel

3DShoemaker is best operated via the panel. To open the panel, type the command “Open3DShoemakerPanel” (without quotes) in the Rhino3D command prompt. The panel will appear and you can dock it in various locations. The recommended location is on the right side as shown in the screenshot below. Below the screenshot are summaries of what the various controls do.

3DShoemaker Control Panel

Pause Button (Previously On/Off)

The pause button temporarily disables the plugin routines of writing to saved Rhino files. Note that the plugin is paused by default until it is used so as not to interfere with other work in Rhino. Pausing is useful when you want to copy and paste something for reference while working with 3DShoemaker, as it prevents the reading and writing the plugin ordinarily does.

Parametric Editing Buttons

These buttons are used when parametrically editing shoe last or component. To start editing, select an editable curve and click the edit button, or vice versa. Dimensions that can be altered are then shown. To change one, click it and a form comes up where a new value can be entered. Simply type in a new number (no need for percent or degree symbols) and press enter (escape key cancels). After changing one or more dimension values, the Update button can be pressed to see the effects of the changes. Once satisfactory changes have been made, the End button will apply the changes and return to standard viewing mode.

General Steps Buttons

These are buttons for carrying out the general workflow of the plugin:

  • Import Foot: If it is a custom last being built, then the first step is usually to import a foot into the session (2D or 3D). It can be edited after being imported by clicking the edit button and then selecting the foot. The measurements of the foot as well as the posture of the foot are editable.
  • Build: Clicking this button will bring up a form for building a new last, which is detailed later.
  • Rebuild: Occasionally, it is necessary to rebuild a shoe last (and matching components), such as when encountering an error. It is also sometimes necessary to rebuild when working with a new version of 3DShoemaker.
  • Adjust: Various adjustments can be made to the shoe last and component designs via this drop down. Firstly, material thicknesses of the components can be adjusted. Other adjustments include dropping the last bottom and achieving forefoot twist of an orthotic. Except for material thicknesses, adjustments are usually applied as post processing and will not be maintained when the shoe last is rebuilt.
  • Add: Some features may be incorporated, such as a thong slot. And some entirely new components may be added, such as shank boards. These additions are generally applied as post processing and will not be maintained if the shoe last is rebuilt.
  • Make: the long term plan for 3DShoemaker is to provide pre-processing functionality for manufacturing shoe lasts and components. For now, however, this button
    refers you to a manufacturer that can use the 3DShoemaker CAD files to produce physical shoe lasts and components.
  • Options Button

    This button brings up a form with various options. A particularly useful option is “In Plane Editing”, which reorients the model to provide a planar view of the curve being edited (only possible when only one curve is being edited). Another useful option is “Show Surfaces When Updating”. This slows things down quite a bit given surfaces have to be redesigned on each update, but it does help to see the full impact of parameter changes. This option is best used with “In Plane Editing” turned off.

    Clipping Plane Selection and Slider

    When designing a shoe last, it helps to be able to check various cross sections for smoothness. To do this, enable the clipping plane via the check box, choose which view you would like to look at (hover for the full plane name), and then move the slider to position the clipping plane.

    Build Form

    As explained above, pressing the Build button in the panel brings up the build form used when creating a new shoe last. Below is a screenshot of the build form followed by an explanation of the various controls.

    3DShoemaker Build Last Form

  • Foot Measurements: The build form has two primary measurement columns, one for foot measurements and one for shoe last measurements. The foot measurement boxes are disabled and only for reference. They will list the foot measurements if a foot was imported prior to starting the build (foot measurements can be edited via the edit button then clicking the foot). Otherwise the foot measurements shown will be the shoe last measurements minus the various allowances.
  • Shoe Last Measurements: The shoe last measurements listed are those that will be used to build the new last. If a foot is in the session, then the initial values that come up when the build form is opened will be the foot measurements plus allowances.
  • Size Indices: The shoe last measurements can also be populated by choosing the length and width indices and clicking update (more details on sizing systems and indices to come).
  • Toggle Left/Right: The Left/Right toggle is used to determine whether it is a left or right shoe last being built.
  • Toggle Show Allowance: Clicking this button toggles whether the allowances and material values can be seen and edited.
  • Templates: The four template inputs allow you to pick a template parametric model for the shoe last (body and toe independently), insole/orthotic, and bottom (heel, wedge, platform etc.) Note that templates should be rebuilt to the latest plugin version and resaved before being used as templates.
  • Measurement Automation: The measurement automation checkboxes are used to determine whether a measurement is applied directly to the shoe last model or if it is calculated via the template.
  • Build Button: Pressing the build button will start the build process for a shoe last based of the specified inputs. If no template is set, then the built in template will be used.
  • Working with Templates

    Template files are available on the shoe last design templates page. You can also create your own templates simply by saving a design your are working on. The saved 3DM file has the template parameters attached to it. New shoe lasts based off of the new shoe last templates can be developed by putting the file location of the new template into the build form. Please make sure there is no space in the file or file location, as Rhino sees them as ‘return’ key presses.

    Occasionally there may be updates to the plugin that affect design templates. If you notice any issues after updating to the latest plugin version, then it is best to open the template and rebuild and re-save it prior to using it as a template.

    Working with Reference Data

    When developing a shoe last in 3DShoemaker, it sometimes helps to have some reference data. Foot geometry can of course be managed by importing a foot. But other reference data such as 3D models of a shoe or just pictures or sketches can also be helpful. To manage such data, its best to create a new layer in Rhino and then lock it while you are editing the shoe last.

    Troubleshooting Tips

    3DShoemaker is still in the very early Beta stages, and as thus still has quite a number of bugs. The following are a few tips to help you avoid some of the more common issues:

  • When you run into problems, always try to hit the ‘Rebuild’ button. This resets a number of things, such as the state of editing and the layer arrangement, and thus can solve a variety of problems.
  • Try to avoid switching views. If 3DShoemaker were a standalone software, it would only have a single viewport. But being a Rhino plugin, there really isn’t much choice in this matter. If you do need to switch views, try to immediately switch back before using any of 3DShoemaker’s functionality.
  • When you go to edit a curve, give Rhino time to reorient the camera. If you try to start panning too soon, the intended camera position will not remain fixed. If this does happen, just click ‘End Edit’ and try again.
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