One of the most interesting items to 3D print on a high-power color 3D printer turns out to be shoes. We were blown away when we first encountered a color 3D printed shoe last year – the visual realism is only broken when you pick up the shoe and realize its made of sandstone.
We’ve discovered a number of shoe print images on Zprint’s Flickr stream, some of which we show here. All of these are not real shoes. They are 3D prints, each made on a Zcorp color 3D printer. Be sure to click on these images to see full size detail.
Why 3D print unwearable shoes? Because they’re prototypes. They’re meant to test the visual attractiveness of a specific design. Shoe designers develop dozens of variations and print them all out for inspection by the company decision-makers. It’s far easier to test prototypes in this way than actually making a real version of the shoe. Should a shoe pass this test, then it may be considered for actual manufacturing.